Valletta is the capital of Malta.
The Grand Master of the Order of St. John, Jean Parisot de La Vallette, began the construction of this amazing city in 1566, after the victory of the Order of the Knights over the army of Suleiman the Magnificent, who besieged Malta, but could not capture it. The new city was to become an invincible bastion of knights. According to Top-mba-universities, Valletta was surrounded by an impregnable wall, powerful fortifications were built. It was they who were to become the determining factor in protecting the island and the Grand Harbor from enemies. Today, all of Valletta is an open-air museum. The rectangular network of narrow streets contains many of the most remarkable buildings in Malta – beautiful palaces and majestic temples. Valletta is one of the few medieval walled cities that have survived in Europe today.
– Cathedral of St. John;
– The Palace of the Grand Master – today it is the residence of the President of Malta and the seat of the Maltese Parliament;
– The armory of the knights;
– Fort Saint Elmo;
– Palace of Parisio;
– Palace of Castile
– Palace of Provence (archaeological museum);
– Admiralty (Museum of Fine Arts);
– Manoel Theatre.
Mdina – The Silent City.
History of Mdina (ancient capital of Malta)) began over 4,000 years ago. Back in the Bronze Age, there was a fortified settlement on the top of the hill where Mdina now stands. The Phoenicians built a city wall around the city about 1000 years before Christ. Maltese nobility has been living in Mdina for centuries and to this day. When the Knights of the Order of Saint John came to Malta, the local nobility agreed to recognize the new rulers, but the knights had to swear to respect Mdina’s autonomy. Only after this formal promise did the Grand Master of the Order receive the keys to the city. Today, walking through the labyrinth of narrow streets, along the fortified walls surrounding the Silent City, it is very easy to mentally go back 500 years and imagine the life of a medieval city. Here it is worth visiting
– the Main Gate of Mdina;
– Greek Gate;
– St. Paul’s Cathedral;
– Inguan Palace; – Hagia Sophia
Palace; – Church of the Carmelites; – Archbishop’s Palace; – Vilena Palace (Museum of Natural History); – Norman house; – the dungeon of Mdina. Ancient temples Until recently, the Egyptian pyramids were considered the oldest structures on earth, but recent research has shown that the mysterious megalithic sanctuaries in Malta
about 1000 years older than the famous pyramids at Giza. These temples are built from huge blocks of stone. Until today, it remains a mystery how 6,000 or 7,000 years ago it was possible to move and even lift such weights to a height of several meters, with only the most primitive auxiliary means available. The temples were decorated with stone idols, reliefs depicting animals. Spiral motifs are often found on altars. The most interesting are the temples of Hajar Im, Mnajdra and Tarshin. Equally mysterious are the peculiar furrows carved into the rocks, which are found in various places in Malta. Most likely, these traces were left by primitive prehistoric carts that had to be dragged along the ground, because the wheel was still unknown in those distant times.
The Three Cities
The Three Cities are Vittoriosa, Cospicua and Senglea, south of Valletta, on the other side of the Grand Harbour. It was here that the knights of the Order of Malta settled, arriving in Malta in 1530. This is the only place in Europe where today you can see fortresses protected by not one but two rows of impregnable stone walls. There are many interesting architectural monuments here:
– Fort St. Angelo;
– Palace of the Inquisitors;
– Church of the Annunciation;
– Bishop’s palace;
– Church of St. Lawrence;
– Maritime Museum.
Gozo is the second largest island in the Maltese archipelago. The history of Gozo goes back centuries. In the town of Shara, there are the oldest free-standing stone structures in the world. The megalithic temples of Ggantija were built around 3500 BC, that is, a thousand years before the Egyptian pyramids. Gozo impresses with its serene charm, picturesque villages with pretty cottages, baroque churches here and there crowning the rural landscape. Among interesting places:
– Jgantija temples;
– Calypso cave;
– Azure Window;
– the village of Shlendi;
– Ta-Pinu Church.
South coast. Blue Grotto and the fishing village of Marsaxlokk
This is one of the largest and most picturesque fishing villages in Malta. There are many traditional, brightly painted Maltese boats (luzzu) in the bay. The usually quiet village changes its appearance on Sundays, when a market of all kinds of seafood is spread on the embankment. The Blue Grotto is located on the south coast of Malta. You can get into it and several caves located nearby on one of the boats that constantly ply through crystal clear water (under favorable weather conditions). The water in the caves is a uniquely bright, blue-turquoise color, and the light reflected from the coral walls casts purple, orange and pink highlights on the water.
Ruins of Hagar Kim Temple
Found under a pile of rubble in 1839, the Neolithic Temple of Hagar Qim, which dates back to 300 BC, is one of the oldest structures in the world. The temple was built of limestone, some blocks are up to 6 meters high and weigh several tons. The complex is an imposing maze of corridors, rooms, niches and altars carved with flint tools. The complex is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and looks a bit like Stonehenge in the UK.
On pleasure boats, as well as on sailing ships, various sea excursions are regularly held, taking from two hours to a whole day. This is a traditional cruise on the Grand Harbor near Valletta, and cruises around Malta and Gozo, and trips to the third island of the Maltese archipelago Comino, where you can swim in the crystal clear waters of the Blue Lagoon, and a view on a specially equipped ship of the underwater world, and many others.
Very impressive is the underground temple-tomb of the Hypogeum in Paola. But the entrance there is limited, so you need to take care of ordering an excursion in advance.
Tourists have the opportunity to make a one-day trip to Sicily (transfer – on a hydrofoil rocket, travel time 1.5 hours, in Sicily – in a comfortable bus). An Italian visa is not required for this excursion.