Valletta is one of the smallest European capitals. You can get around it up and down in just a few days, and one trip will definitely be enough to really get to know this city. The capital of Malta is interesting for its ancient port – one of the largest in the entire Mediterranean, medieval architecture (there are almost no modern buildings in the city) and curious geometry: all the streets are clearly parallel or perpendicular to each other. Despite its small size, life in Valletta is vibrant, and there are always a lot of young people here. See Citypopulationreview for weather in Valletta, Malta.
How to get there
Direct flights from Moscow during the season (charters and regular Air Malta), as well as in winter (Air Malta). The airport (Malta International Airport) is located 6 km southeast of the capital, from there you can get to the city center by bus or taxi.
A bit of history
Valletta is a walled city where almost every square has at least one castle. It was founded at the end of the 16th century by the Knights of the Order of Saint John. During a long siege, they managed to free these lands from the Turkish yoke, which paralyzed the lives of local residents for a long time. The development of the city began with the construction of a small chapel in honor of the victory over the Turks, over time it grew into a beautiful temple of the Madonna the Conqueror. It was here that the glorious knight Jean de la Vallette laid the foundation for a great construction.
Most of the buildings of the Maltese capital were erected in about ten years, and moreover, they are still preserved almost in their original form.
Later, the well-known European architect Laparelli was involved in the construction of the city, he immediately developed a detailed development plan, taking into account the fact that Valletta was considered primarily a fortification. So the city was built on a hill, having previously expanded it, and surrounded it with a powerful stone wall with a watchtower.
The cape, on which the capital of Malta is located, stretches for only a couple of kilometers, and it is easy to walk along and across on foot. It is better not to drive into the city on a rented car: the streets in the historical part are very narrow, there are difficulties with parking, in addition, there are many pedestrian zones. Intending to ride through the streets of Valletta on a horse-drawn carriage, you need to bargain properly. Among other things, the Maltese capital can be bypassed by bus: route 98 follows clockwise, and 198 – against (traffic interval – 15-30 minutes).
The streets in the Maltese capital are very narrow, only some of them allow two-way traffic, the rest are exclusively pedestrian. All houses were built along one clear line, so as not to hide additional space. For the same reason, there is practically no vegetation on the streets of Valletta; their only decoration is numerous sculptures and elegant facades. But at the same time, they are so related to each other that even deep into the city a fresh sea breeze penetrates.
- Valletta Map
Most of the shops of interest to tourists are concentrated on the main street of the Republic and around the square of the same name. Another shopping place is the Torgovaya Street parallel to it, they sell mainly clothes here, but there are also cute trinkets in the national spirit “for home, for family”.
Attractions and attractions in Valletta
Republic Street runs like a meridian through the whole city, the largest number of attractions are concentrated here. It is conducive to leisurely walks, pleasant meetings and just an interesting pastime. One of the most notable on Republic Street is the building of the Cabinet of Ministers of Malta – Auberge de Castille, where the residence of the knights of Spain was located in the Middle Ages. And nearby, on Palace Square, there is also the Office of the President in the most mysterious and majestic palace of Valletta, the Palace of the Grand Master. Despite the fact that high-ranking men do their work there every day, some halls of the Palace can be visited on a guided tour. Moreover, there are many things worthy of admiration, for example, unique knightly equipment made back in the 14th century.
Next to the Palace is Freedom Square. It is worth stopping by to admire the beautiful Ferreria Palace, built in the spirit of the best Italian architectural traditions, or to go to some premiere at the Royal Opera.
The highlight of the collection of the National Museum of Fine Arts is the legendary painting by Michelangelo “The Beheading of John the Baptist”.
If you follow Republic Street further towards the sea, you can find yourself next to Auberge-de-Provence, this exquisite building was once home to French knights, the British Union Club was located, and now houses the National Archaeological Museum. The National Museum of Fine Arts is also located here, which presents many excellent works of both European and Maltese painters – and the highlight of the exposition is the legendary painting by Michelangelo “The Beheading of John the Baptist”.
Fort St. Elmo houses a military museum and hosts entertaining costumed re-enactments of legendary military battles every month.
It is especially interesting to visit Valletta five days before the start of Lent, when the city is immersed in national festivities and holds a traditional carnival. Or come here in early September to watch the yachting competitions. Valletta is also considered one of the best centers for learning English.
Cathedrals, churches and chapels of Valletta
Valletta’s numerous cathedrals deserve special attention, of which St. John’s Cathedral is considered the most famous. Looking at it from the side, it is difficult to guess that this is a temple; it looks more like a strict defensive structure. But once you enter the building, you understand how deceptive the first impression can be – its interior is striking in its luxury and elegance, the walls here are painted with frescoes, and the floor consists of marble tombstones, under which the ashes of knights rest.
Not inferior in beauty and the Cathedral of the Shipwreck of St. Paul, located on the street of the same name. It is here that the relics associated with the life and death of this Saint, and the throne of the Grand Master, cast from pure silver, are located.
- Cathedral of St. John of Jerusalem, the main temple of the Order of John, one of the main attractions of Valletta (built in the 16th century)
- Cathedral of Paul (Anglican)
- Parish Church of Augustina (built at the beginning of the 20th century)
- Church of Francis (built in the 17th century)
- Parish Church of Dominica (built in the 16th century, rebuilt in the 19th century)
- Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (built in the 16th century, rebuilt in the 20th century)
Looking from the side at St. John’s Cathedral, it’s hard to guess that this is a temple, it looks more like a strict defensive structure.
- Church of Mary the Victorious (built in the 16th century). This is the first church * of Valletta, dedicated to the victory of the Knights of St. John over the Turks in the Great Siege
- Church of Catherine, Church of the Italian Langa (d’Italie) of the Order of St. John (built in the 16th century)
- Church of Barbara, Temple of the Artillerymen (built in the 16th century)
- Church of Jacob, temple of the langa of Castile, Leon and Portugal of the Order of St. John (built in the 18th century)
- Church of the Holy Gifts, also known as the Church of the Savior (built in the 17th century)
- Church of Our Lady of Damascus (built in the 16th century, rebuilt in the 20th century) – Greek Catholic church
- Church and monastery of St. Catherine of Siena
- Parish Church of the Shipwreck of St. Paul (built in the 16th century)
- Church of Roja, built after the end of the plague (16th century)
- Church of Lucy, temple of the wine merchants (built in the 16th century)
- Church of Mary Magdalene, a shelter for “fallen women” (built in the 16th century)
- Jesuit Church (built in the 16th century)
- Church and monastery of St. Ursula (built in the 16th century)
- Church of Nicholas, Church of the Remembrance of the Souls of the Dead (built in the 16th century, rebuilt in the 20th century)
- Church of Our Lady of Lissa (built in the 17th century)
- Church of the Flight of St. Families in Egypt (built in the 18th century)
- Church of Our Lady of Jesus (built in the 16th century)
- Church of Our Lady of Pilar (built in the 17th century)