Il-Birgu (Città Vittoriosa) ranks with l-Imdina (Città Notabile) as the oldest city in Malta. Its name il-Birgu is a corruption of the Romance name ‘Borgo’ (suburb). The Port of il-Birgu (Citta’ Vittoriosa), was also the first seaward facing town in Malta, before the founding of il-Belt Valletta (Città Umilissima) and the only link in Malta with the Mediterranean and Southern Europe.
The city covers an area of about 175,000 square metres, excluding the headland comprising the impregnable Fort of St. Angelo. Presently, there are approximately 3200 inhabitants in this city.
Indeed, Birgu has great historical significance. It was the place selected by the Knights of the Order of St John when they required an alternative governing location to the old capital of Mdina, in order to watch over their fleets.
They are responsible for the fortification of the city, which was formerly a small village near Fort St Angelo, hence its name Birgu which derives from “Il borgo davanti al castello.”