, the capital of Malta, which I have visited in 2012.
This city has a rich history, plenty of forts, rugged coastline and it is worthy of a visit.
The surprising fact is the present Maltese are the direct descendants of the Phoenicians in many ways. This ancient nation has always been famous for its sailors and travelers. Walking around Valletta, I was looking at the locals that I encountered there, trying to identify the true descendants of the legendary people. At the same time, the walk itself was very exciting and memorable. In this review, I will try to render some of these half-forgotten memories.
We spend one day for the trip to the capital of Malta. There are interesting places to see and visit. In fact, this city is very small and it is located on a completely narrow rocky peninsula, surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea on three sides.
The whole area around it is occupied by many suburbs, which are in fact separate mini-towns with their own stories and sights. The boundaries of Valletta, as well as its internal layout, have not been changed for about five centuries.
It is appropriate to note that the strategic importance of Malta. The Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Byzantines, Normans and Arabs, who succeeded each other, have tried to seize Malta. It lasted until the Order of the Knights of Saint John or the so-called Hospitallers had got this place. At the time, this Christian Order was founded to help the poor and sick pilgrims on the Holy Land.
Gradually, the Order became a powerful religious and military organization. Expelled from Jerusalem by the Arabs, the Knights were looking for a long time for a place where they could gain a foothold. There’s a credible fact - Malta was given under the control of the Crusaders by the Spanish viceroy of Sicily for a nominal fee - one Maltese falcon per year. The power of the order was growing, and it caused envy and hatred of the Ottoman Empire that was a principal opponent of the Order in those areas. After a successful reflection of the attack, and a multi-day siege of several thousand Turkish troops, the Grand Master of the Order, Jean de la Valette, laid the foundation stone of the new city, which was named in his honor.
A clear planning of streets and courtyards, preserved till nowadays, has become a specific feature of urban development from the very beginning. Valletta was created under all rules and regulations of the architecture of that time. It was a real fortress city with powerful bastions, massive walls, and deep moats.
When you get behind the main gates into the city, the first thing that strikes you - perfectly aligned streets rising straight up closer to the center. You can see how the streets diverge perfectly straight geometrically in different directions from the central points of the city.
This plan is not accidental, as the city is well blown by sea breezes, creating the effect of air-conditioning. Since the founding of Valletta, the locals were concerned about cleanness by creating special systems for sewage and garbage removal. Moreover, the fortifications of the city are not less impressive. For example, there’s a moat of one kilometer long, 18 meters deep and 20 meters in width!
It is home to more than nine thousand Maltese who live and work in this city. Moreover, thousands of tourists from around the world come there every day, so it is difficult to define the locals among them. Knowing that the Maltese are usually of a low stature, stocky built and speak the language of the country which is one of the oldest dialects of Arabic, it was quite easy for me to identify the visitors of the city.
). There is something to see. Several historical halls rich in the ornament of antique tapestries are open for tourists. Multiple armor and Maltese crosses are memorable items.
You can find a variety of secret signs and historical details there. Council Hall is crowned with the throne of the Grand Master. The best men of the Order of St. John sat in session there.
You can see many portraits of past rulers of the world on the walls of the hall of Ambassadors.
Everything is imbued with the spirit of the famous history of the Order.
At the end of our trip, we went down to the armory of the palace. Surprisingly, little Malta has one of the largest collections of medieval weapons.
At the end, I was looking through the eyes of the Gulf island Fort St Angelo. After all, the Order of Malta still exists as a charitable organization with a glorious history. The above-mentioned island is given to the Order of rent for 99 years.
This city is unique as any other city in the world and it is worthy of a visit and the detailed study.