Sunday, 1 June 2014

Fortress Valletta

Went on a harbour cruise last night which Jo had organised for me as a little arrival gift.  It was organised by 'Heritage Malta' and focused on the 400 year old coastal fortifications and ended with wine and nibbles at the Maritime Museum. It was freezing.

Valletta was established in 1566 by the Knights of St John. The Knights were a maritime version of the Crusaders and were formed to combat the threat of invasion by the "Muslim hordes". They were knights representing many countries and needed a base/ Malta was  a strategic site and Spain agreed to hand over the island to the Knights as their sovereign territory.

After a protracted war with the Ottoman Empire led by Suleiman the Magnificent it was decided to build a fortified city to minimize the likelihood of a repeat of the near defeat by the Turks.. It was named after the Grand Master of the Order at the time, Jean De La Valette, and was an advanced design in that it was the first city in western Europe designed on a grid system (9 streets long by 12 across - a total area of a mere half a square kilometre). The design.includes an underground sewerage and subterranean tunnel system used over time as prisons, air raid shelters and devotional grottos. Valletta chose the site as it had potential for the construction of a series of headland forts to protect from future attack.The forts are magnificent and largely intact though in need of much repair. Malta is the European Capital Culture in 2018 and restoration work has already begun

That's my apartment sitting on the cliff top.

I crossed the harbour by ferry to visit the tourist centre of Sliema on Friday (it has a supermarket). Sliema is New Farm to Valletta's West End. I'm in the right place.


Queen of the Tea Cosies said...

What a place
fab photos

little hat said...

True. If only I was well enough to enjoy it. Been stuck at home for the past 24 hours

Mickcap said...

The Knights of Malta, now based in Rome, concentrate on hospitality for the for poor and disadvantaged. They will be needed in Australia under Abbott.
BTW the reason for the Maltese Cross on the Queensland coat of arms is unknown but seems to be based on an interest in symmetry rather than any cultural association.