The concentrated load of Maltese culture and history can be experienced on less than one square kilometer.Älgbert Elgson
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Valletta is the capital of Malta and at the same time the smallest capital of all countries in Europe. The city has only about 6,000 inhabitants and is less than a square kilometer in size. However, in this small area there are numerous historical buildings, which also due to the cultural wealth of the city in 1980 has led to the city was registered as a total monument in the list of UNESCO World Heritage.
But Valletta was not always the capital of the Maltese islands. Previously, this position held the fortified city of Mdina. But the then owner of the island, the Order of Malta, quickly realized that Malta could be better governed from the coast, and so they moved their seat of government first to Birgu, 1571 finally to appoint Valletta as the capital.
The city has a lot to offer every visitor. Be it the numerous churches that are spread over the entire city, or even the numerous museums. One of them, and one of Malta’s most visited attractions, is the National War Museum at Fort Saint Elmo.
There you can see not only a very informative exhibition about the city’s significant military history as well as Malta, but also a very well-preserved fortification that was largely renovated at the time of our visit (2019). This was to protect the port of Valletta with two other fortresses against attacks and was therefore from 1417 expanded more and more to its present appearance.
In addition to the National War Museum, there are a variety of other interesting museums.
For example, the Lascaris War Rooms, a museum in the bunkers of the former command post from the Second World War. In these original and authentically equipped rooms, the invasion of Italy was planned by the Allied commanders.
The Fortification Interpretation Center, which can be visited free of charge (as of 2019), provides information on the construction of fortifications in Malta from the Bronze Age to the present and the construction and development of Valletta’s fortification.
But also cultural museums, such as the National Archaeological Museum of Malta, the National Museum of Fine Arts, the Manoel Museum or the Domus Pauli Museum are definitely worth a visit.
A list of the city’s museums can also be found on the homepage of Heritage Malta.
For Game of Thrones fans, such as our Älg, it’s also interesting that some scenes have been shot around Valletta, such as Ned Stark’s beheading scene. This was filmed in the Fort Manoel with a lot of attention for detail.
Especially for the first seasons many sets were found in Malta. Such as the Azure Window or the old town of Mdina.
Probably the most famous church in Valletta is St. John’s Co-Cathedral. It was built in the years 1573 to 1577 and looks very inconspicuous from the outside, but inside it is one of the most beautifully designed churches in the Mediterranean. In the floor of the church 375 grave slabs were inserted with marble inlay among which religious Knights were buried.
At the beginning of the 19th century, together with the Cathedral of Mdina (hence the Co-Cathedral), it became the seat of the Archdiocese of Malta.
If you want to visit St. John’s Co-Cathedral, be patient. Especially in the main travel season in summer, very long queue of visitors form, waiting for the entrance in front of the entrance.
Those who do not want to wait so long in the blazing sun, can also visit the many other churches, which may not have such a large variety of burial slabs laid in the ground, but each is outstanding in itself.
The city is also famous for the straightforward streets, the atmosphere, the colorful balconies of the houses and the parks.
Due to the fact that the city was created artificially and has not grown historically, in Valletta there are, with a few exceptions, only straight streets. The most important are the Triq Ir-Repubblika, where most of the historic buildings are located, and the Triq Il-Merkanti, the shopping street of Valletta. There is also the fact that shops do not necessarily stop at the shop door. Some simply expand their sales area with a small truck parked on the roadside, which on its back fruit and vegetables are offered for sale.
Everywhere in the streets one can find the famous colourfully painted wooden balconies, which make up an essential part of the cityscape.
The Lower and Upper Barrakka Gardens are to be highlighted here. On the one hand because of the beautifully landscaped gardens, on the other hand because of the prevailing peace. The Lower Barrakka Gardens are adjacent to the Siege Bell War Memorial and are a wonderful place to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city for a short while. This place is also used by local residents to relax in the shade of the big trees and read a book.
The Upper Barrakka Gardens also houses the Saluting Battery. As the name suggests, there are salute shots fired by soldiers of the Maltese armed forces in historical uniforms at 12:00 and 16:00. Here too the early bird gets a seat and sees what happens. Already half an hour before the salute shots, more and more tourists are arriving and shortly before the shooting, it is practically impossible to get a good seat. The shots are definitely heard.
Traveling to Valletta is not difficult. All roads lead to Rome and all bus lines in Malta to Valletta. As everywhere else on the island, it is very easy to get to the capital from any place by bus. Just be patient. The buses sometimes follow their own schedule.
But also by car it is not difficult to get to the old town. Just outside the gates is a newly built parking garage or several parking spaces. The MCP parking garage in St Anne Street is completely new, well lit with ample space and also, for a city, reasonably priced at € 3.00 per hour. (As of 2019)
If you come to Malta, you should definitely make a excursion to the capital. The city is always full of life and has something to offer in every aspect. Be it the offer of museums or the countless possibilities to go out in the evening. The nearby neighboring town of Sliema is known for its many clubs and nightlife.
In any case, it is important to inform yourself in advance about the opening hours, as these do not seem to follow a recognizable pattern and can sometimes change spontaneously.
Many buildings do not look too spectacular from the outside. They were built as functional buildings in a fortified city, but their interior is decorated all the more artful.
We were here: 2019
We decided to travel to Stockholm for the Lucia Festival.
During our adventure we admired many lights, tasted our way through Sweden’s cuisine and watched people dance around a tree.
Here you can read what else we experienced and how we fared.
Wir haben uns dazu entschlossen zum Lucia-Fest nach Stockholm zu reisen.
Bei unserem Abenteuer bestaunten wir viele Lichter, haben uns durch Schwedens Küche gekostet und um einen Baum tanzende Menschen beobachtet.
Hier kannst du nachlesen was wir sonst noch erlebt haben und wie es uns dabei ergangen ist.
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Sie dir an wie aus einem normalen Kombi unser Micro-Camper wurde.
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