Notwithstanding its colossal proportions and awe-inspiring aura, the Gran Castello at Rabat, Gozo is intrinsically a shadow of its past. True, the domineering fortification assemblage and monumental cathedral complex stood the test of time reasonably well, but the intrinsic civil architectural legacy suffered severe decimation. Centuries of abandonment and pillaging succeeded in reducing a once flourishing, prized and sizeable urban cluster into an extensive ruin that was in turn partially reclaimed for agricultural purposes.
Just under onefifth of the former cluster of civilian properties, that is non military or religious buildings, made it to the present day. These are of great architectural merit on an individual and a collective basis. Indeed, the main stylistic developments that characterized popular civil architecture in the Maltese Islands from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries are mirrored at Gozo’s Gran Castello.
This publication endeavours to showcase many of these architectural styles and is an appreciation of the civil architectural legacy of the Gran Castello.