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MALTA
Valetta

Valetta

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

VallettaVallettaPhoto: Juliana da Costa José CC 3.0 Uluslararasi no changes made

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Hotels Valetta

Location

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

Weather

Valletta has a wonderful Mediterranean climate. This means warm summers that are also very dry, and mild, usually wetter winters. The proximity of the Mediterranean Sea 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 27°C..

History

Mural about the origins of ValettaMural about the origins of ValettaPhoto: Public Domain

In May 1565 the Siege of Malta began, That 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. So where the city's name comes from is not hard to figure out.

On August 21, 1568, the Grand Master died, 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 were no narrow, winding, draughty streets as we know them from the Middle Ages, but straight, wide streets starting centrally from the city gate and ending at the Fort Saint Elmo overlooking the Mediterranean.

During World War II, various Nazi and fascist air raids caused much destruction in the city. Among the destroyed buildings was the Royal Opera House 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 Our Lady of Victory Church 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 Paleis van de GrootmeesterValetta Palace of the Grand MasterPhoto: Marie-Lan Nguyen CC 2.5 Generic no changes made

Valletta not only has many churches, but you will 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. In one of these courtyards you can find a statue of Neptune. The palace has two entrances one at the front and one at Piazza Regina. Inside the palace are frescoes by Matteo Perez d'Aleccio (pupil of none other than Michelangelo), among others.

Waterverfscilderij van Turner in het museum van Schone Kunsten in ValettaWatercolor painting by Turner at 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 premier 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 furniture and exquisite 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 widely 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 the national theater of Malta. The spacious oval auditorium seats 623 spectators and is decorated with 22 carat gold leaf. The pale blue trompe-l'oeil ceiling is also very special. Should you be able to, it is definitely recommended to attend a performance in this beautiful theater.

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Last updated May 2024
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