CITY   OF   VALLETTA

A City Built by Gentlemen for Gentlemen

Malta’s capital and a World Heritage site,

Valletta is nothing short of an open-air museum.

A monument donated by the Knights of St John nearly five centuries ago, it is a living experience of Baroque architecture. Throughout the years, Valletta has welcomed emperors, heads of state, artists and poets and is now the permanent seat of the Maltese government. 

Dotted with quaint cafés and wine bars, the city is today one of Malta’s main tourist attractions, providing a stunning snapshot of Malta’s Grand Harbour, often described as the most beautiful in the Mediterranean. 

Best maneuvered on foot, the magic of the fortified capital is amplified by the gentle lighting and charming clusters of worn limestone architecture adorned by timber balconies 

Fort St Elmo

 

Originally intended as a war machine, the fort was built in a strategic location to face and hold back the menacing Ottoman attacks. This dominating position now offers unobstructed panoramic views of the harbours and the surrounding towns and villages. The fort also hosts the National War Museum which houses a superb collection of artefacts that go back to prehistoric times. 

Visitors at Fort St Elmo can experience the impressive grounds of the fort, including the splendid architecture of the two chapels dedicated to St Anne. Among the most notable artefacts in the Museum, one finds: military armour of the Order of St John and the Ottoman Turks, Roosevelt’s  Jeep ‘Husky’, and Malta’s award for gallantry, the George Cross. 

Grandmaster's Palace

Richly embellished with collections of works of art and heritage items, visitors can view  the only complete and intact set of the famous 18th century French Gobelins tapestries entitled “Les Teintures des Indes”, late 18th century Baroque illusionistic ceiling paintings, and a portrait gallery of the various rulers of the Maltese Islands, spanning from the arrival of the Knights of St John in Malta till today. 

Founded by Grand Master Jean de Valette, this palace was one of the first buildings to be constructed at the heart of the new city of Valletta. Later, during the British Period, it served as the Governor’s Palace, and was the seat of Malta’s first constitutional parliament in 1921.

St John’s Co Cathedral

A prime example of Baroque architecture, the impressive Roman Catholic cathedral was dedicated to Saint John the Baptist. It was designed by renowned Maltese architect Girolamo Cassar, who is also credited to have designed the Grandmaster’s Palace as well as the original design for the Knights’ hospital, La Sacra Infermeria Built.

Built between 1572 and 1577 by the Knights of Malta, it acted as the Conventual Church of Saint John. 

Over the centuries several gifts and inheritances left by the various Knights further embellished the cathedral to become a true jewel and a must-visit place of interest in Malta,

as well as paintings from the great Caravaggio. 

Upper Barrakka gardens

Located at the highest point on Valletta’s bastions,

The Upper Barrakka gardens offer a breath-taking view of the only natural harbour in the Mediterranean with the Three Cities as its backdrop.

Built in 1661 as private gardens and exercise grounds for the Knights of St John, the Maltese public did not gain entry until the end of the French occupation in 1800.

 

A large fountain framed by colourful flowers is surrounded by a multitude of statues, ranging from a tribute to former Maltese leaders, to replicas of art pieces.

A lift that links the Grand Harbour and Valletta

can be found within the gardens, with a ferry to the Three Cities located near its base.