La Valletta is the capital of the republic of Malta, on the equally named island in the Mediterranean Sea. The city’s on the world heritage list of UNESCO since 1980.
The city’s built in the 16th century, started on March 28th 1566. Pope Pius IV ordered engineer Fransesco Laparelli to design the city. It was named after Grandmaster Jean de la Vallette († 1568), who defended the island against the Turks in 1565. The city has a unique centre from late Middle Ages with fully intact walls. Here you can find the Maltese government and parliament. Valetta’s an important interchange and has a beautiful harbour. The city has about 7000 inhabitants, but in the whole area live about 300000 people.
Valletta is city with a plan known before the building started, what explains the checkerboard pattern the streets froms. The city (‘Il-Belt’, The City in Maltese) was built by the governing Order of Malta. The members of this order of knighthood originated from different countries and regions in Europe, called ‘langues’. Each of these ‘langues’ had its own headquarters in the city, named ‘auberges’. Several of these auberges were kept in its original glory, like the ‘Auberge de Castille’, now the home of the prime minister of Malta.
At the palace of the Grandmaster the leader of the order, the Grandmaster, lived. This became the office of the president.
The art painter Caravaggio stayed on Malta for some time in the beginning of the 17th century and painted his famous Beheading of John the Baptist there. You can see this painting in the Saint Jansco cathedral of Valetta. You can also see there a lot of tombes of the Maltese Knights, marked with blocks colored marble.
Just outside of Valletta, nearby the village Attard, you can find the palace and gardens of San Anton, where the Grandmaster usually spent his Summer, and also is the residence of the president.
Valletta is also known for the convention of Valetta, also called Convention of Malta, where it’s regulated how the European Union has to deal with archeological heritage.
Things to see
- Blue Grotto
- Golden Sands
- Magisterial Palace
- Mediterraneo Marine Park
- St. John Co-Cathedral (with Carravaggio’s ‘The Beheading of St. John’)
- St. Paul’s Cathedral
- Sweethaven Village – An Encounter with Popeye
- Ta’ Qali Handicrafts Village
- Tarxien Temple
You can find more pictures here.