Valletta Journals

Superbissima Valletta, the City of Palaces

Best of IgoUgo

A November 2010 trip to Valletta by Liam Hetherington

Grandmasters Palace Photo, Valletta, Malta More Photos
Quote: Valletta in Malta has two reasons to earn itself the soubriquet 'most proud' - its exquisite baroque architecture and the stories it has to tell of withstanding against the odds not one but two great sieges.

Valletta (General)

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Feed The Birds Photo, Valletta, Malta
Quote:
Upon its foundation in 1566 the new city was given its name: Humilissima Civitas Valletta, "the Most Humble City of Valletta". From the very beginning however the name was flawed. It was never imagined to be humble. For starters, it took the name of one man, Jean Parisot de la Vallette. De la Vallette, a French nobleman, was Grand Master of the Military Order of the Knights of St John, a brotherhood of Catholic knights who ruled the islands of Malta and Gozo. He had led the knights in fierce resistance the previous year during the four-month Great Siege of Malta when they found themselves vastly outnumbered by an Ottoman invasion force (30,000 Turks against 700 knights and 8,000 local Ma...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 1, 2011

The Great Siege (1565) and the Knights of Malta

Grandmaster's Palace

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Grand Master Flash"

Grandmaster's Palace Photo, Valletta, Malta
Quote:
The Grand Master’s Palace was once the headquarters of the leadership of the Military Order of the Knights of St John of Malta, the order of Catholic knights that ruled these islands from the 16th century up until the end of the 18th. Dating from 1571 it was one of the first buildings in the new city of Valletta. It later served as the British Governor’s Palace and now houses the Maltese House of Representatives and the Office of the President. Despite the fact that it is still an integral part of the government of Malta areas of it can still be visited by tourists – as long as there are no official state visits taking place.Entry is off the beautiful Pjazza San Ġorġ. At the ticket ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 28, 2011

Grandmaster's Palace
Palace Square
Valletta, Malta VLT 1191
356 21249349

St. George's Square - Pjazza San Gorg

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "21st Century Urban Planning in a 16th Century Town"

St. George's Square - Pjazza San Gorg Photo, Valletta, Malta
Quote:
Valletta should count itself lucky to have, in Pjazza San Ġorġ one of the loveliest public spaces in Europe. It may not have the size of Moscow’s Red Square or the bustle of New York’s Times Square but since its renovation in late 2009 it truly is one of the most pleasant spots I have encountered.Pjazza San Ġorġ is not a large square – it occupies less than a block and is more a widening of Triq ir-Repubblika than anything else. But the welcoming use of the space makes it a treat and encourages passers-by to linger. It is a sun-dappled area of pale limestone facing on to the se...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 28, 2011

St. George's Square - Pjazza San Gorg
Triq Ir-repubblika
Valletta, Malta

St John's Co-Cathedral

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Never Knowingly Under-Baroqued"

St John's Co-Cathedral Photo, Valletta, Malta
Quote:
The Co-Cathedral of St John should be top of list of things to do for anyone visiting Valletta. It may look restrained from the exterior but the interior decoration is pure over-the-top baroque frenzy.St John’s was the private church of the Knights. As such it was also one of the richest churches in Malta. In time its reputation earned it the rather unusual title of ‘co-cathedral’, bestowed upon it by the Pope in 1816. This meant that while the original cathedral (St Paul’s in Mdina) kept its status, St John’s was raised to an equal position, allowing the local bishop to use either. Yet it was its role as the Knights’ conventual chapel that made it the attraction it is today....Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 28, 2011

St John's Co-Cathedral
St. Lucia's Street
Valletta, Malta

The Second Great Siege (1940-1943) and the Malta Convoys

National War Museum

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "The George Cross Island"

National War Museum Photo, Valletta, Malta
Quote:
Malta’s second great siege came in the 1940s. From 1940 to 1943 this isolated speck of rock at the axis of the Mediterranean was under concerted and determined attack. In 1942 the island suffered under 154 days and nights of continued bombing from the combined German and Italian forces – almost three times as long as London ever had to suffer. More bombs were dropped on Malta during the months of March-April 1942 alone than fell on London during the entire Blitz. Malta’s fate was to be at the very centre of the Mediterranean. Britain needed its east-west supply lines from the Suez Canal to Gibraltar kept open, linking the UK to its colonies in Egypt, India and the Far East. Conversely Hitler an...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 28, 2011

National War Museum
Fort St Elmo
Valletta, Malta
(0) 21 222 430

Siege Bell Memorial & Lower Barrakka Gardens

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Watching Over the Grand Harbour"

Siege Bell Memorial & Lower Barrakka Gardens Photo, Valletta, Malta
Quote:
On our return from the National War Museum Rebecca and I passed the new (1992) Siege Bell Memorial. This columned rotunda sits high on the walls overlooking the entrance waters of the Grand Harbour and honours those who died on the Malta Convoys of 1940-1943. Over 7,000 service personnel and civilians died in this theatre and the Memorial to the Dead, depicting a shrouded body as if prepared for a burial at sea makes clear the cost paid by naval forces. Every noon its bell is tolled in their memory.Across the road we found the Lower Barrakka Gardens. This – like the Upper Barrakka Gardens up towards Valletta landward walls – was a patch of garden created atop the city’s might...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 28, 2011

Siege Bell Memorial & Lower Barrakka Gardens
St Christopher Bastion, Triq Il-mediterran
Valletta, Malta