Valletta, a City built by gentlemen for gentlemen. La Vallette, a cultured man with vision, decided that the new city should not only serve as an impregnable fort, but should also become a strong point of culture, economy and politics in the world. He therefore decided that Valletta should become “a city built by gentlemen for gentlemen”. In honour of its founder, it was to be known as Valletta. Valletta was to become Malta’s chief town, instead of El Borgo (Vittoriosa).
On March 28th 1566, the ground-stone was laid and the Prior consecrated the stone, which carried the inscribed “raison d’etre” of the new city. The Grandmaster personally laid the stone in position. Valletta actually owes its existence largely to the marauding forces of the Turks, under the Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. If the Sultan, the arch enemy of the Knights, had not attacked Malta in 1565 with a 40,000 strong force of Janissaries, and a fierce band of mercenaries, who knows if Valletta ever would have been built in timeless beauty which we admire today. Malta had won, but paid dearly for its freedom.
Laparelli, the Italian architect, had the unique opportunity to do everything right, to create the perfect city from scratch. Also unique, is the “grid iron” street alignment, planned to allow the breezes free entry to the city, in order to lower the heat during the summertime.
All the buildings are built with the same characteristics. They are not allowed to jut out into the streets, front gardens and gaps are forbidden, every building has a sculpture on each corner, mostly a saintly one, each house has a well to collect rain water and most important, that they are connected to the public drainage. Running parallel with the domestic and administrative constructions, the fortification of the city had top priority. The most vital element of this was a huge moat which ran between the two harbours, seperating Valletta from the Mainland. Almost 1,000 metres long, 20 metres wide and 18 metres deep, this would afford Valletta the greatest protection.
PLACES OF INTEREST AT VALLETTA MALTA :
- City Gate
- St. James Cavalier
- Auberge de Castille
- Upper Barracca Gardens
- Lascaris War Rooms
- The Hospital of the Order / Conference Centre
- Fort St. Elmo / War Museum
- The Jesuit Church / University
- The St. Paul’s Shipwreck Church
- Palazzo di Citta
- Auberge d’Italie
- Palazzo Parisio
- The church of St. Catherine of Italy
- Our Lady of Victory Church
- Republic Street
- Opera House
- Palazzo Ferreria
- Auberge of Provence
- St. John Co Cathedral and Museum
- Auberge or Auvergne / Law Courts
- Republic Square
- The Malta National Library
- The Grandmaster’s Palace
- The Manoel Theatre
- The Carmelite Church
- Admiralty House / Museum of Fine Arts