Valletta is the capital city of the Mediterranean island of Malta and is also known as The City of Palaces. It was once inhabited in turn by the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs and Turks. In 1530, the Order of the Knights of Malta moved its main residence to this section of the island.
Malta’s pre-historic epoch is demonstrated by its primeval stone temples and graves. They belong to the Menhir period that extended to the British Isles.
The St. John’s Co-Cathedral was built in1577 by Glormu Cassar as a monastic church of the Order of the Knights of Malta. At the command of Pope Pius the 7th, in 1816 it was designated as a cathedral and was given the same privileges as the bishop’s seat in Medina, thus its somewhat strange title of ‘Co-Cathedral’.
Situated on the northernmost point of the peninsula is the famous Saint Elmo Fort, a dominant feature of the coast. Throughout the centuries, it has been witness to many bloody battles and much courageous resistance. It reached its zenith during the time of the Knights of St John who expanded the fortress and made it almost totally impregnable. Its walls successfully fended off the Turks and later the French blocked off the harbor entrance to the British fleet. During the Second World War anti-aircraft artillery were positioned on the fort’s upper levels to defend against both German and Italian bombers.
The Orient and the Occident have both left their traces in Valletta, a picturesque location carved from stone. The former City of Knights is where the future joins with the past.