Valletta is one of the most concentrated historic cities in the world as it contains more than 300 monuments within a small portion of land, surrounded by fortresses and defensive ramparts. No wonder it is often called an open-air museum.
When the 16th century began, Valletta was already the size of a city and the Maltese people started moving to the safety of its walls from all over the island of Malta. The Order of the Knights of St John moved most of its structures to the new capital of Malta but the Three Cities maintained their economic importance because of their docks. Mdina, the old medieval capital of Malta stagnated but remained home to the Maltese nobility, descendant of the Sicilian and Spanish overlords.
Interesting facts about Valletta
The city is named for Jean Parisot de la Valette, who succeeded in defending the island from the Ottoman invasion. The bastions, curtains, and the beauty of its Baroque palaces with elements of Neo-Classical architecture, gardens, and churches, led the ruling houses of Europe to give the city its nickname Superbissima- Most Proud.
World War II left major scars on the city. The Axis resolved to bomb or starve Malta into submission, by attacking its ports, towns, cities, and Allied shipping supplying the island. Malta was one of the most intensively bombed areas during the war.
During the walk through the bustling streets, you can stop for a breathtaking panorama of the Grand Harbour, from Barracca Gardens. From up, you can monitor the Saluting Battery is one of Malta’s capital, most vibrant visitor attractions where history is brought to life daily. Valletta is built on a peninsula between two natural harbours – The Grand Harbour and Marsamxett Harbour. The city sits perched on higher ground. Its streets were aligned in a grid-like layout, being wide and straight, which is said to have been chosen to allow the sea breeze to provide respite from Malta’s hot summer weather.