[WORLDKINGS] Exceptional places around the world (P.114) – Valletta (Malta) : European Capital of Culture


(WorldKings.org) Valletta is the capital of the island nation of Malta. A harbor city, Valletta preserves much of its 16th-century architectural heritage built under the Hospitallers. With an official population of only 5,827 as of early 2019, it is the least populated national capital in the European Union. Valletta was a "European Capital of Culture" for 2018, an honor it shared with Leeuwarden.

Valletta was one of the earliest sites inscribed by UNESCO on the World Heritage list. It takes its name from its founder, Grandmaster Jean Parisot de la Valette.

With its large array of shops, catering establishments, entertainment venues and culture, Malta's capital has what it takes to capture people's imagination.

The Valletta peninsula is only a couple of kilometers in length and so the ideal way is to do everything on foot also allowing one to make use of the atmospheric stairs throughout this steep city.

The city boasts an enormous collection of churches, palaces, museums, and squares which keep you busy for days if you are very interested in history and culture.


The St. John's Co-Cathedral is unremarkable from the outside but its incredibly ornate inside is truly stunning. The barrel-shaped ceiling is a single huge fresco, the lifework of famed artist Mattia Preti. Furthermore, the floor is entirely taken by a knight's graves all intricately inlaid marble in different colors. This relatively unknown cathedral can be count as one of the most impressive in Europe.

FORT ST. ELMO was built at the tip of the peninsula by the knights after the Dragut Raid of 1551. During the Great Siege of 1565, the Turks made the mistake of choosing to first try and take this fort, for which they had planned a week. Instead, the knights and soldiers present fought desperately for a month, buying essential time. The knights in the fort knew they were fighting to the death, and so rather than being taken off the ramparts when wounded, knights would fight on while seated in chairs until they couldn't even lift their arms anymore. Today the fort houses the Police Academy and is only partially open on the weekend.

MANOEL THEATRE is 'La Scala' in miniature, a very beautiful 17th-century theatre in the original state. One of the oldest active theatres in Europe, it is the place for many classical music performances but also for instance the hilarious Christmas Panto.

THE UPPER BARRAKKA GARDENS at the upper south side of the peninsula offer a jaw-dropping view of the Grand Harbour. Go on a sunny day and bring champagne! The cannons will be fired twice a day, at 12:00, and at 16:00, from the terrace right below the gardens.

CASA ROCCA PICCOLA is a 16th-century palace in Malta, and home of the noble Maltese family de Piro. The house has over fifty rooms, including two libraries, two dining rooms, many drawing rooms, and a chapel. Casa Rocca Piccola houses Malta's largest private collection of antique costumes. There is both formal and informal wear from the 18th to the 20th century.

According to wikitravel.org

Mihan (Collect and edit) (World Records Union - WorldKings.org)


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