Gozo is a Mediterranean island rich in 2,000 years of history. The Client's brief for the new Cittadella Visitors’ Centre was to convert the city’s disused water reservoirs into an experience that would reinforce the historical ties of the buildings, the people and the natural landscape.
Given the island’s small population of roughly 37,000, the fact that within 3 months of opening, Cittadella Visitors' Centre had already welcomed over 100,000 visitors confirms that this attraction is something out of the ordinary. It is the combination of traditional exhibition techniques, immersive storytelling and the 360° show finale, set in the unique historical environment that make this project so special.
Cittadella Visitors' Centre has attracted major international plaudits including themed entertainment industry's top honour - a TEA Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement.
Services- Story, Research & Interpretation - Scheme & Detailed Design - Project Engineering & Technical Design - Interior Design - Lighting, Audio, Video, Network Design - Set and Staging Design - Writing & Content Development - Media & Film Production - Interactive Technologies - Graphics - Lighting - Audiovisual - Theming - Languages & Multinational Support - Art Direction - Installation Supervision - Special effects, 4D Vibration, Movement & Smell - Programming - Construction & Installation - Support & Maintenance - Ongoing Upgrades and Extensions - Training
AwardsTEA - Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement; Install Awards - Best Visitor Attraction Project; AV Awards - Entertainment Venue of The Year; TripAdvisor - Certificate of Excellence; TripAdvisor - Travellers’ Choice
An immersive experience celebrating the island’s history
Gozo is one of the Maltese islands, known for its Mediterranean seascape, rugged landscape, and for being the purported home of Calypso, who wooed Odysseus in Homer’s The Odyssey. The island is also home to an ancient Cittadella, a fortress that for centuries was a place of shelter for the locals in times of war.
With EU funding secured, the Ministry for Gozo called upon Sarner to convert and restore the city’s disused water reservoirs underneath the Cittadella into an immersive visitor centre, celebrating the island’s history and reinforcing the ties that link it with Rabat and the natural landscape.
Learn then Experience
With no historical objects available to display, Sarner instead leveraged the power of storytelling, media and striking architecture.
The Cittadella Visitors’ Centre is divided into two main areas. The first area is an informative exhibition, where visitors can learn about the evolution of Cittadella, as well as the nature and history of the beautiful island of Gozo. The multisensory journey leads visitors to the second area, with its dramatic finale, the 360° audio visual show, set within the impressive theatrical space created by eight high arches of the former water reservoir.
The feedback was universally positive: recent surveys revealed that an impressive 97% of visitors considered their overall experience as good or very good. It is also important to note the wider economic benefit for Gozo and its local community. By enhancing the island’s cultural identity, the project delivered a 29% boost in tourism. Local economic operators are also happy with the improvements, with satisfaction ratings increasing from 48% to 86%. Some local businesses have even extended their opening hours to cope with the fresh influx of visitors.
TEA - Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement
Install Awards - Best Visitor Attraction Project
AV Awards - Entertainment Venue of The Year
TripAdvisor - Certificate of Excellence
TripAdvisor - Travellers’ Choice