City of Valletta

Valletta Skyline (Briangotts/Wikipedia, Public domain).
Island of Malta
N35 54 2.016 E14 30 51.984
Date of Inscription: 1980
Criteria: (i)(vi)
Property : 55.5 ha
Ref: 131
City wall, Valletta fortification (Myriam Thyes/Wikimedia, Public domain).

Malta’s capital Valletta is a fortified city located on a hilly peninsula between two of the finest natural harbours in the Mediterranean. The Siege of Malta in 1565 captured the European imagination and mobilised the resources needed to create the new city of Valletta, founded soon after, in 1566. The Knights of St John, aided by the most respected European military engineers of the 16th century, conceived and planned the city as a single, holistic creation of the late Renaissance, with a uniform grid plan within fortified and bastioned city walls. Since its creation, the city has witnessed a number of rebuilding projects, yet those have not compromised the harmony between the dramatic topography and the Hippodamian grid. The fabric of the city includes a compact ensemble of 320 monuments that encapsulate every aspect of the civil, religious, artistic and military functions of its illustrious founders. These include the 16th century buildings relating to the founding of the Renaissance city, such as the cathedral of St John, the Palace of the Grand Master, the Auberge de Castile et Léon, the Auberge de Provence, the Auberge d’Italie, the Auberge d’Aragon and the Infirmary of the Order and the churches of Our Lady of Victory, St Catherine and il Gesù, as well as the improvements attributed to the military engineers and architects of the 18th century such as the Auberge de Bavière, the Church of the Shipwreck of St Paul, the Library and the Manoel Theatre.

Criterion (i): The city is pre-eminently an ideal creation of the late Renaissance with its uniform urban plan, inspired by neo-platonic principles, its fortified and bastioned walls modelled around the natural site and the voluntary implantation of great monuments in well-chosen locations.

Criterion (vi): The city is irrevocably affiliated with the history of the military and charitable Order of the Knights of St John of Jerusalem, which founded the city in 1566 and maintained it throughout two and a half centuries. Valletta is thus associated with the history of one of the greatest military and moral forces of modern Europe.


Suggested base:

Birkirkara (abbreviated B’Kara) is a town in the central region of Malta. It is the most populous on the island, with 22,247 inhabitants as of March 2014.[1] The city consists of four autonomous parishes: Saint Helen, Saint Joseph, Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Saint Mary. The city’s motto is In hoc signo vinces, and its coat of arms is a plain red cross, surmounted by a crown. There are many places of interest in Birkirkara, amongst them the Old Railway Station which is today located within a public garden. Trains were used as means of transportation across the island until the Railway’s closure happened in 1931. Other town features include the Wignacourt Aqueduct built in the 17th Century, and St Helen’s Basilica, housing Malta’s largest church bell. Birkirkara is one of Malta’s oldest towns. [read more]

Victoria/Rabat is in Gozo. It should not be confused with another town having the name Rabat on the main island of Malta. Rabat lies at the center of the island and most of the roads pass through it. Pretty much everything worthwhile is within a small area where cars can’t go, so on foot is the only option. The town of Rabat was renamed Victoria by the English in the 19th century. In common with many places in Malta and Gozo its foreign name is often ignored and it is referred to in the original Arabic. The name Rabat in Arabic is a commonly used term describing the suburb outside the fortified part of the town or keep. Citadella. Go up to the Citadella and walk around the entire perimeter and enjoy the very beautiful 360 degree view of Gozo at your feet. [read more]




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