Reasons to visit Malta’s Capital - Valletta (World Heritage Site)

From barren, desolate plain to World Heritage city, Malta's capital, Valletta, is a distinctive baroque city of graceful coloured balconies, imposing defensive forts and lively street life. It is the perfect destination to be seduced by a history of art, battles and resistance. Stay at the Mercure Hotel in St. Julian's  while visiting the capital city!

A Relic of the Past with a Contemporary Twist
Today's capital city of Malta, Valletta, is the result of a history marked by sieges, bombardments and revolts. Despite these events, the Maltese capital has managed to reinvent itself and today it is a small cosmopolitan city which, either by tradition or as a precaution, continues to keep its eyes firmly fixed on the sea. 

This city, with baroque overtones, stands between two large gulfs, St. Telmo and the Grand Harbour. Valletto in Malta takes its name from Pean Parisot de la Valletta, Grand Master of the Order of the Knights of Malta, who promoted the reconstruction of the city after the Ottomans razed it to the ground during the Great Siege in the mid-16th century. This Order and its prominent role in the defence of the island are responsible for much of the history that makes Valletta such a special walled city.

6 Reasons to Visit Valletta in Malta
  • The city walls and gates: Malta’s capital is protected by walls more than 50 meters high, alongside moats and towers, that make a new siege of the city unthinkable. How to enter this impassable city? The best option is the Bieb il-Belt or 'City Gate'. This is actually the fifth gate to be erected here since the Porta San Giorgio was built in 1569. It is located at the western end of the capital and connects the heart of Valletta to the iconic Triton Fountain. 
  • The treasures of the Co-Cathedral of St John in Malta: Appearances can be deceiving and beneath the conventional appearance of the church's exterior, lie some of the country's most important artistic treasures. The Co-Cathedral of Malta, located in the capital city of Valletta, was originally the church of the Knights of the Order of St John, also known as the Knights of the Order of Malta. It is one of the most representative examples of Baroque on the island, where every inch of its surface is decorated in marble or carved with cherubs and heraldic symbols. 
  • The imposing fort of San Telmo: A defensive symbol of the city and one of the bastions that survived the Ottoman attack and the bombardments of World War II. From the top of the Sciberras peninsula, the fort of San Telmo remains a symbol of resistance with its towers offering spectacular views over the Grand Harbour of the Malta capital. 
  • Changing of the Guard at the Grand Master's Palace: You'll need to time your trip to get to the capital city of Valletta on the first Friday of every month. It is on this day that the changing of the guard takes place at the Grand Master's Palace in Valletta. This unique hour-long ceremony includes a parade and military band marching through the main streets of the capital city. A majestic spectacle that remains the pride of the Valeteses. 
  • What the city hides underneath the surface: An estimated 6,700 tonnes of munitions fell on Valletta in April 1942, making it one of the most heavily bombed cities in Europe. The difficult circumstances of World War II forced the construction of a network of tunnels that still snake beneath the city's streets today. Most are closed to the public, but it is still possible to get an idea of the role played by these underground shelters by visiting the Lascaris War Rooms under the Upper Barrakka Gardens. 
  • The authentic Maltese breakfast: It's important to start the day with energy. A typical Maltese breakfast has all the right ingredients: an espresso or cappuccino and a pastizzi, a pastry filled with peas or ricotta. Because of its proximity to Italy and its long-time membership of the British Empire, Maltese cuisine has culinary nods to both cultures, and in Malta’s capital Valletta, you’re sure to find the perfect dish for you!
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