Explore Valletta's Beauty And History

in History

If you're keen on history, don't hesitate to enjoy your holidays at Valletta - the capital of Malta. It's one of the first and oldest pre-planned fortified cities in the world, also a UNESCO World Heritage City.

Here are just a few things that are a definite must see in this remarkable city said to be "built for gentlemen by gentlemen".

Republic Street Valletta Malta

This is the main pedestrian street in Valletta that runs from the City Gate, the entrance to the City, to Fort St Elmo. In this vibrant, bustling street you'll be able to find that perfect gift or souvenir and also try some traditional Maltese food at one of the many cafes.

You'll also find a treasure trove of historical buildings, from the remnants of the old Opera House bombed by the Germans in 1942, to the Auberge de Provence, Grand Master's Palace and the 16th century Casa Rocca Piccola.

St Johns Co Cathedral, Valletta

Religion is a huge part of Maltese culture, tradition and history and St Johns Co Cathedral built in 1578 is a masterpiece of baroque architecture that has to be seen to be believed. There is hardly an area within this lavish church that is not beautifully painted, guilded or carved and the floor is completely covered with marble tombstones of past members of the order.

It also houses the famous painting by Caravaggio, "The Beheading of St John The Baptist" and is the only work signed by the artist. You will also find the largest and oldest tapestry exhibition in the world here.

Valletta was named after Grand Master Jean De La Vallette who sadly didn't get to see this finished masterpiece. He died before it was completed.

Upper Barracca Gardens And The Saluting Battery

Upper Barracca Gardens has the most amazing view across Grand Harbour and The Three Cities -- Birghu (now Vittoriosa), Senglea, Cospicua -- and is said to be a favourite spot of the Italian Knights.

The Knights established the battery which is strategically located some time after the walled town was completed in 1570. The firing of the noon day gun is a naval custom and was a way to synchronise watches. It is a tradition that dates back to the Knights of Malta that is still practiced today. Every day at 11.55am a gun crew dressed in 19th century uniforms marches out to re-enact the age old ritual of firing the noon day gun.

The Malta Experience

The venue for the Malta Experience is in the converted Hospital of the Order of St John. It's a short film that brings 7000 years of history to life -- a great starting place in understanding Malta's unique history -- and it's available in 8 languages.

National Museum of Archaeology

This museum is in the only auberge open to the public and it contains a number of archaeological finds taken from some of Malta's prehistoric sites, including the famous fat fertility goddess.

And for something extra, you might also like to visit the first capital of Malta, Mdina, which will transport you back to Medieval times.

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Debbie Falzon has 2802 articles online and 5 fans

Debbie Falzon and her husband Joe are the founders of http://www.malta-holidays-and-property.com which offers information, tips and resources about what to see and do on the Mediterranean Island of Malta. I invite you to submit your Malta Holidays stories to our site too, along with any photos or recommendations you may have for other visitors to our site.

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Explore Valletta's Beauty And History

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This article was published on 2010/10/08