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Old history map of Valletta
Introduction to Valletta

The city of Valletta was built after the Great Siege of 1565, a monumental moment in the Maltese history, when the Ottoman Empire tried to capture the island.

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A heroic fight ensued when the Knights of the Order of St John and the Maltese population decided not to capitulate, but to fight for their freedom. Against all odds, the Ottomans had to raise the siege and return to Istanbul unsuccessfully. During the siege, the area of the Three Cities was almost totally destroyed, and the Order was looking for a new location to build a new capital city. In the past, they had already looked at the peninsula Scibberas, opposite the Three Cities.

However, they decided against because it would be too expensive. After the Great Siege, the Order had no other option than to build there. On 28th March 1566, the first stone of the new city of Valletta itself was laid, of a building that would become the Our Lady of Victories Church.

Within five years, some five km of fortification walls were constructed around the peninsula, with the help of paid Maltese workers and Ottoman prisoners of war. An Italian architect, Francesco Laperelli de Cortona, designed these city walls, who was on loan to the Order by courtesy of Pope Pius V. Laparelli's.

The location was chosen on the peninsula between two harbours. The city plan of Valletta was based on the Renaissance grid plan, similar to what the Romans had used in the past.  The idea was that the city would have only straight streets, so that troops could be transferred as fast as possible from one side to the other. For this reason, the streets of Valletta have no gardens and monumental staircases.

Laparelli's  pupil, the Maltese military engineer and architect Girolamo Cassar, was responsible for many of the buildings which were erected within the new city's walls. There was a continuous construction in the city and many of the buildings have been labelled by history as 'sensational.

The already built Ford St. Elmo, which is situated at the far end of the peninsula, was integrated into the town.

Valletta became a fortification with many secrets to mislead the enemy and give them false illusions.
 
In the middle of the town one can find the richly decorated church (Baroque)  St. John's Co-Cathedral  and also the Grandmaster's Palace, which was one of the first buildings in Valletta.

At the beginning of the 17th century painter Michelangelo  Caravaggio lived in Malta for some time. During that period he painted the Beheading of St. John the Baptist. This painting can be found in the St. John's Cathedral in Valletta.

More than 25.000 people can live in Valletta but only about 6.500 are living there nowadays.

The two main important streets of Valletta are Republic Street and Merchants Street. Both are parallel to each other and run from City Gate to St Elmo on the other side of the peninsula. Republic Street and Merchants Street are built on top of the peninsula, and are for the greater part flat, while at the end of the peninsula, these streets show a rather steep decline towards Forts St Elmo and the sea. In both streets one may find many shops, museums and churches, although each has its own character.

Republic Street is the main thoroughfare and is the largest shopping street. In Merchants Street one may find, besides many fine shops, also a good number of government departments. The city is relatively small and measures 700 m x 1 km and has 6,500 inhabitants. A large part of the city centre is pedestrianized.

Underneath Valletta there is a canal system so the enemy could be surprised during an occupation. There is also a canal for the water-supply and a canal to drain the faeces which ended in the sea. To hoist up water one let down a rope in the shaft which ended in a canal. Next to the water shaft was another hole where one could relieve oneself and that would end up in the canal of faeces.
Additional Online information

Look for opening times and location in our free app or for checking the original website of the spot.

Additional information

Photos below: Under Valletta






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Valletta - Find tourist and Holidays information about Rabat in our Map app and discover interesting sights. Find all things to do and places of interest in your tour.

We provide so much information that two apps has been created, Valletta - Mdina and island Malta - Gozo. You will see in this series more than 350 places of interest and discover the many historical secrets of the country Malta. In the Valletta - Mdina app is also included it neighboring Floriana en Rabat and is also useful if you are taking a cruise through the Grand Harbour of Valletta and the Marsamxett Harbour. This Valletta app is also great when you enter the grand harbor via a cruise ship!

This series is also convenient whether you are walking, driving a car, or using the hop-on and hop-off bus trip, boat trip, etc.

his app provides you with general information about the sights, Malta’s beauty, secrets, history and culture, its architecture, fortifications, etcetera and specific information as: what took place here?; When was it built and by whom?; What are the functions of all these buildings?

The app describes also religious subjects, museums, parks, places of interest, public toilets and much more useful information. Interesting texts set up by local experts and additional informative photos make this app distinctive.

This app answers many questions and shows in an easy to navigate way where the sights are located. A great landmap and citymap made specifically for you, is a great tool. You can immediately see where you are and where the sights are.

Everything in the app is easy to operate, without any knowledge and suitable for young and old.

This app is free while you normally would pay for a guided tour, you may enjoy navigating through Malta on your own terms.

This app is constantly maintained about: attractions which are closed due to renovation, changed entrance fees or opening times, etc. This maintenance costs a lot of money. However, it has been decided not to include annoying advertisements. The app has no hidden costs.

If you are visiting Valletta and you want to walk there and see the most interesting sights, our free app is a perfect tool. You will immediately find out what there is to do in Valletta. At a glance you see the most interesting places, so that you can determine your own walk. With the app you have a clear map and you know where you are during your own Waking tour.

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