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Valletta

Valletta

Malta's capital, Valletta, is more popularly known as Il-Belt (The City). Since 1980, the old core of the Maltese capital has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Valletta really only refers to the walled historic center of the city and the name "Greater Valletta" refers to the urban agglomeration around the old city center.

Valletta, Malta Valletta MaltaPhoto: Juliana da Costa José CC 3.0 Uluslararasi no changes made

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Location

Valletta is located in the central-eastern part of Malta. The city covers an area of 55 hectares with 6,100 inhabitants. Because the city is not very big, it has many cultural attractions per square meter.

Weather

Valletta has a wonderful Mediterranean climate. That means warm summers that are also very dry and mild, usually wetter winters. The proximity to the Mediterranean has a moderating effect on the weather in Valletta. In January the average temperature is around 12.5°C and in August the average temperature is no less than 27°C.

History

Mural about the origins of VallettaMural about the origine of ValettaPhoto: Public Domain

In May 1565 the Siege of Malta began, which was an attack by the Ottomans that lasted until September of the same year. After the Siege it was decided to found a new city on the Xiberras peninsula. This marked the birth of Valletta. The foundation stone was laid on March 28, 1566 by Grand Master of the Order of Malta, Jean Parisot de la Vallette. It is therefore not difficult to find out where the name of the city comes from.

The Grand Master died on August 21, 1568, so he could not witness the completion of the city in person. The designer Fransesco Laparelli completed the building plans. The result was that there are no narrow, winding, winding streets as we know them from the Middle Ages, but straight, wide streets that start centrally from the city gate and end at Fort Saint Elmo overlooking the Mediterranean.

During the Second World War, various Nazi and fascist air raids caused much destruction in the city. Among the destroyed buildings was the Royal Opera from the 19th century.

Sights

Our Lady of Victory Church ValettaOur Lady of Victory Church ValettaPhoto: Felix König CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

Valletta has many churches, of which the Church of Our Lady of Victory is probably the best known. This was the first building built in Valletta by the Knights of Malta between 1573 and 1578. When Grand Master De la Vallette died, he was buried in this church. The church was designed by the Maltese military architect Gerolarmo Cassar.

Valetta Palace of the Grand MasterValetta Palace of the FrandmasterPhoto: Marie-Lan Nguyen CC 2.5 Generic no changes made

Valletta does not only have many churches, you also see many palaces. The Palace of the Grand Master is one of them. Currently the House of Representatives of Malta is located in this palace. It is built around two courtyards. A statue of Neptune can be found in one of these courtyards. The palace has two entrances, one at the front and one from Piazza Regina. The palace contains frescoes by Matteo Perez d'Aleccio (pupil of none other than Michelangelo).

Watercolor painting by Turner in the Museum of Fine Arts in ValettaWatercolor painting byTurner in the Museum of Fine Arts in ValettaPhoto: Public Domain

The National Museum of Fine Arts has been in existence since 1974 and is Malta's main art museum. Highlights of the collection include works by leading local and internationally renowned artists, precious Maltese silverware, sculptures in marble, bronze and wood, fine furnishings and beautiful majolica pieces. The collection includes works by Joseph Mallord William Turner, Albert Bierstadt, Valentin de Boulogne, Jusepe Ribera and Guido Reni (1575-1642). The Italian Baroque painter Mattia Preti is well represented in this museum with a large number of canvases.

Tips

Manoel Theater VallettaManoel Theater VallettaPhoto: R Muscat CC 2.0 Generic no changes made

The Manoel Theater is the oldest theater still in use in Europe. It is Malta's national theater. The spacious, oval hall can seat 623 spectators and is decorated with 22 carat gold leaf. The light blue trompe l'oeil ceiling is also very special. If it succeeds, it is certainly advisable to attend a performance in this beautiful theater.

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Last updated September 2021
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