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This is a tour around Valletta. Showing the various places of interest, each location can be viewed via a link that is highlighted on the 3D Google Earth image.

Valletta, the capital city of Malta, has a rich and storied history that dates back to the 16th century. It was founded by the Knights of St. John, who sought to establish a fortress city to defend the island from invaders. The city was named after Jean Parisot de Valette, the Grand Master of the Knights, who played a pivotal role in the victory over the Ottoman Empire in the Great Siege of Malta in 1565.

Today, Valletta is a UNESCO World Heritage site renowned for its well-preserved Baroque architecture and historic landmarks. One of the must-visit attractions is St. John's Co-Cathedral, a stunning church adorned with intricate artwork, including masterpieces by Caravaggio. The Grand Master's Palace, now the seat of the President of Malta, is another notable site, boasting opulent state rooms and the Palace Armory with a remarkable collection of arms and armor.

The Upper Barrakka Gardens offer breathtaking views of the Grand Harbour and the Three Cities. From there, visitors can witness the firing of the noonday gun, a tradition dating back to the 19th century. The National Museum of Archaeology showcases Malta's ancient history, displaying artifacts dating back to the Neolithic period.

For a deeper understanding of Malta's military past, the Lascaris War Rooms provide an immersive experience. These underground chambers served as a strategic command center during World War II. Exploring the rooms, visitors can see the communication equipment, maps, and operation rooms used by the Allied forces.

Valletta's streets are a delight to wander, with charming cafes, boutique shops, and historic buildings at every turn. The city also hosts various festivals and cultural events throughout the year, including the Valletta International Baroque Festival and the Malta Arts Festival.

Valletta's history and architectural grandeur, combined with its vibrant atmosphere and cultural offerings, make it a captivating destination for history enthusiasts and culture lovers alike.

Fort St. ElmoSt. John's Co CathedralUpper Barrakka GardensLower Barrakka GardensLascaris War RoomsTriton FountainSiege Bell War MemorialCity GateChapel of St, AnneValletta United Waterpolo Club

Fort St. Elmo

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Visitors at Fort St Elmo can enjoy a twofold experience. Originally intended as a war machine, the fort was built in a strategic location to face and hold back the menacing Ottoman attacks. This dominating position now offers unobstructed panoramic views of the harbours and the surrounding towns and villages. The fort also hosts the National War Museum which houses a superb collection of artefacts that go back to prehistoric times.

Constructed by the Order of St John in 1552, the star-shaped fort was built according to the cutting edge of fortress design. The fort played a crucial role in the eventful Great Siege of 1565 which saw the mighty forces of the Ottoman Empire and the Order of St John come head to head.

During the British rule, the fort was modified to accommodate the new requirements of war. Right on the day when Malta became involved in the conflict of World War II, on 11 June 1940, Fort St Elmo suffered the first aerial bombardment on the islands.

Visitors at Fort St Elmo can experience the impressive grounds of the fort, including the splendid architecture of the two chapels dedicated to St Anne. Among the most notable artefacts in the Museum, one finds: military armour of the Order of St John and the Ottoman Turks, the Gloster Sea Gladiator N5520 FAITHRoosevelt’s  Jeep ‘Husky’, and Malta’s award for gallantry, the George Cross.

St. John's Co Cathedral

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St. John's Co-Cathedral was commissioned in 1572 by Jean de la CassièreGrand Master of the Order of St. John. It was initially named, in the Italian common language of the time, as Chiesa Conventuale di San Giovanni Battista. The church was designed by the Maltese architect Girolamo Cassar, who was also responsible for the construction of many important buildings in Valletta. It is held that Cassar went to Rhodes to bring a plan of an already existing church that was by then converted to a Mosque, to use it as a model for the present Co-cathedral.

However Cassar still took decisions over the final design and made modifications, and thus became the sole architect of the Co-cathedral. Once St. John's was completed in 1577, it became the new conventual church of the Order instead of St. Lawrence's Church in the Order's former headquarters Birgu. Construction of the oratory and sacristy began in 1598, during the magistracy of Martin Garzez, and they were completed by Grand Master Alof de Wignacourt in 1604.

For the first century of its existence, the church's interior was modestly decorated. However, in the 1660s, Grand Master Raphael Cotoner ordered the redecoration of the interior so as to rival the churches of Rome. Calabrian artist Mattia Preti was in charge of the embellishment, and effectively completely transformed the interior in the Baroque style.

The annexes on the side of the cathedral were added later and feature the coat of arms of Grand Master António Manoel de Vilhena who reigned from 1722 to 1736.

St. John's remained the conventual church of the Order until the latter was expelled from Malta with the French occupation in 1798. Over time, the church grew to equal prominence with the archbishop's cathedral at Mdina. In the 1820s, the Bishop of Malta was allowed to use St John's as an alternative see and it thus formally became a Co-cathedral.

In 1831, Sir Walter Scott called the cathedral a "magnificent church, the most striking interior [he had] ever seen." Later on in the 19th century, Giuseppe Hyzler, a leader of the Nazarene movement, removed some of the Baroque art of the cathedral, including the ornate altar in the Chapel of the Langue of France.

The cathedral's exterior was slightly damaged by aerial bombardment in 1941, during World War II, barely escaping total destruction. The contents of the cathedral had been transferred elsewhere before the bombardment, so no works of art were lost.

The façade of St. John's Co-Cathedral being restored in 2014

The cathedral was restored between the late 1980s and the early 1990s. In 2001, the St. John's Co-Cathedral Foundation was set up to administer and conserve the cathedral and its museum. The sides of the cathedral were restored between 2008 and 2010, and a complete restoration of the exterior began in July 2014 directed by architect Jean Frendo and eight restorers. Restoration of the central part of the façade was completed in September 2015 and project completion was expected in 2017.

Today, the cathedral is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Malta and is listed on the National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands.

Upper Barrakka Gardens

The Upper Barrakka Gardens, nestled in the heart of Valletta, Malta, are a delightful haven of tranquility and natural beauty. Perched on the fortified bastions, these gardens offer breathtaking panoramic views of the Grand Harbour and the Three Cities. With its lush greenery, vibrant flower beds, and serene pathways, the Upper Barrakka Gardens provide a peaceful retreat for visitors to relax and enjoy the stunning vistas.

The gardens are also home to several statues, including the bronze figure of Sir Winston Churchill. A visit to the Upper Barrakka Gardens is a must for anyone seeking a moment of serenity amidst Valletta's bustling streets.

View a 360° Panoramic View HERE

Lower Barrakka Gardens

Lower Barrakka Gardens is a picturesque public park located in Valletta, the capital city of Malta. Situated on the lower tier of the city's fortifications, the gardens offer breathtaking panoramic views of the Grand Harbour and the Three Cities. The well-manicured lawns, vibrant flowerbeds, and charming pathways create a serene and relaxing atmosphere for visitors.

The gardens are adorned with statues, including the iconic bronze figure of Sir Winston Churchill. It's a popular spot for locals and tourists alike to unwind, enjoy a picnic, or simply soak in the beauty of the surroundings. Lower Barrakka Gardens truly captures the essence of Malta's rich history and natural splendor.

View a 360° Panoramic View HERE

Lascaris War Rooms

The Lascaris War Rooms in Valletta, Malta, are a fascinating historical site that played a crucial role during World War II. Located deep within the limestone bastions, these underground chambers served as the nerve center for Allied operations in the Mediterranean.

The war rooms were equipped with advanced communication systems, plotting tables, and strategic maps, where military decisions and intelligence were coordinated. Today, visitors can explore the meticulously restored rooms, gaining insight into the intense wartime atmosphere and the pivotal role Malta played in the conflict.

The Lascaris War Rooms offer a captivating journey into the past, preserving an important piece of Malta's wartime heritage.

View a 360° Panoramic View HERE

Triton Fountain

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The Triton Fountain

Designed by the Maltese sculptor Vincent Apap, this grand fountain was unveiled in 1959. It features three bronze figures of Tritons, mythological sea gods, holding up a large basin. The Triton Fountain stands proudly at the entrance of Valletta, welcoming visitors with its impressive display of water cascading from the basin.

The fountain underwent restoration in recent years, restoring its original splendor and making it a popular gathering spot for locals and tourists. The Triton Fountain is not only a beautiful piece of art but also a symbol of the city's connection to the sea and its rich maritime heritage.

Siege Bell War Memorial

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The Siege Bell War Memorial stands as a powerful symbol of resilience and remembrance in Valletta, Malta. Erected in 1992, the memorial commemorates the victims and heroes of World War II and the Great Siege of Malta. Its centrepiece is a massive bronze bell that was salvaged from HMS Maeander, a British warship that served in the Mediterranean during the war.

The bell is rung daily at noon to honour the memory of those who lost their lives defending the island.

The Siege Bell War Memorial serves as a poignant reminder of Malta's tumultuous history and the bravery of its people.

City Gate

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Chapel of St, Anne

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Within Fort Saint Elmo, the Church of St. Anne was constructed in 1722 or 1729 by the Order of St. John. Nearby, there has been a church with the same dedication since at least the 15th century. It is said that inside the chapel lay the remains of Hospitaller knights who had died defending the fort during the Great Siege of Malta in 1565.

The church was deconsecrated and had significant interior renovations done when Malta was ruled by the British.

Between 2012 and 2015, the structure underwent restoration as part of a fortwide fort renovation project. Originally intended to serve as a lecture hall, the former church has since been transformed into a memorial building honouring those who have protected Malta throughout the island nation's history, particularly during the two world wars. The memorial features several exhibits, including military medals and artwork, as well as a book of remembrance detailing World War II losses associated to Malta. The structure occasionally serves as a venue for transient exhibitions.

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