Category Archives: Malta

Malta – Valletta

Valletta is the de facto capital city of Malta, colloquially known as Il-Belt (English: The City) in Maltese. It is located in the central-eastern portion of the island of Malta.
Valletta contains buildings from the 16th century onwards, built during the rule of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, also known as Knights Hospitaller. The city is essentially Baroque in character, with elements of Mannerist, Neo-Classical and Modern architecture in selected areas, though World War II left major scars on the city.
The City of Valletta was officially recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1980.
The city is named for Jean Parisot de la Valette, who succeeded in defending the island from an Ottoman invasion in 1565. The official name given by the Order of Saint John was Humilissima Civitas Valletta — The Most Humble City of Valletta, or Città Umilissima in Italian. The bastions, curtains and ravelins along with the beauty of its Baroque palaces, gardens and churches, led the ruling houses of Europe to give the city its nickname Superbissima — ‘Most Proud’.

Malta – Gozo – The Citadel

Gozo’s oldest settlement sprouted up in a defensible spot on a crag in the centre of the island during Roman times. It was destroyed during the Arab invasion, rebuilt, and breached again in 1551 when a battalion of Ottoman troops overran Gozo’s defenses. Afterwards, the Knights commissioned a redesign of the Citadel’s defenses and the Citadel was rebuilt with higher, stouter walls – which survive to this day.
Now a hulk girdled with massive fortifications, curtains, bastions, and ravelings – all innovative defense arrangements in the sixteenth century – the Citadel is a veritable fortress and medieval castle. A walk around the ramparts of its fortifications reveals the stout thick walls, the various rearguard towers, the battery on its eastern flank projecting out of the main body of fortifications as an advanced gun position – and afford unbeatable vantage point views over much of Gozo. It’s a great spot for sunset, sitting on its ramparts with a bottle of wine. T
he medieval structures within its walls are evocative in their weathered walls and restrained Baroque. There are various alleyways meandering throughout, mostly holding townhouses that are designed in a late-medieval Sicilian country style, while the square in front of the Cathedral holds two important public buildings: the Courts of Law in Gozo, and the bishop’s residence. A handful of residents still live in the Citadel, but most of the structures are now opened as museums, while some are also abandoned.

Malta – Temple of Hagar Qim

Hagar Qim is a megalithic temple complex found on the Mediterranean island of Malta, dating from the Ġgantija phase (3600-3200 BC). The Megalithic Temples of Malta are amongst the most ancient religious sites on Earth, described by the World Heritage Sites committee as “unique architectural masterpieces.”
Hagar Qim’s builders used globigerina limestone in the temple’s construction. As a result of this, the temple has suffered from severe weathering and surface flaking over the millennia. In 2009 work was completed on a protective tent.