What I love about Malta – Its Capital

Posted on April 4, 2010

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Valletta, the tiny but history-packed capital of Malta was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1980. It was built in the 16th century by the knights of St. John and is surrounded by weathered and honey coloured bastions which were crucial to the city’s safety during instances of attempted invasions from the sea. Here is a route I’ve walked many times and which will hopefully inspire those who have not yet visited to do so.

Start at the main bus terminus and pass through the city gate onto Republic Street for some window shopping and cheap purchases. Walk on until you reach the side entrance to the spectacular St. John’s  co-cathedral (www.stjohnscocathedral.org) where even non-history buffs will find themselves enveloped by the mesmerising art and architecture. After wondering through the vast and detail-filled cathedral itself, head to the oratory and witness the beauty of the 361 by 520 cm Caravaggio masterpiece, The Beheading of St. John the Baptist. When you are done, find your way back to Republic Street, keep walking until you reach the tip of the peninsula then turn right. Take in the sight of the old town houses (those which were lucky enough to survive the bombing during WW2) with their traditional wooden balconies, and explore the Lower Barrakka Gardens overlooking the Grand Harbour where the British fleet once sheltered. Finish the day by heading to the Valletta waterfront (vallettawaterfront.com), and enjoy a Mediterranean meal over a glass of wine and unobstructed views of the harbour.

Tip: There is a daily market along Merchant’s Street (7am to 1pm) full of little stalls to explore for bargains. The market transfers to a corner of the Valletta bus terminus on Sundays and is open for an extra hour.

– Photo by MacUK. Text by Denise Pulis @ www.travelwithdenden.wordpress.com

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Posted in: Malta