Valletta, the capital city of Malta, is a fortified city built in the 16th century. It represents one of the most amazing works of fortifications in the world. The city is located on the Sciberras peninsula, along the north-east coast of the island of Malta, in correspondence with one of the most beautiful natural harbors in Europe, the Grand Harbor.
The history of the city therefore begins with the end of the terrible siege that the Ottoman Turks laid, in 1565, on the island of Malta. After the retreat of the Turkish army, it was decided to fortify the island better, otherwise it would not have resisted another attack. For this purpose, it was decided to fortify the Sciberras peninsula to better protect the Grand Harbor, the best harbor on the island.
AN IMPOSING SERIES OF FORTIFICATIONS
The fortification works, which began in 1566, were entrusted to the Tuscan Francesco Laparelli da Cortona, one of the most important military architects of the period. He worked on the fortifications of this new city for about three years. The works were then completed by Gerolamo Cassar in 1571. The result of the works was a work of Pharaonic fortifications, which still impresses today. It is a series of ramparts, walls, fortifications unmatched in the world.
The city is in fact an open-air museum. Valletta is mainly characterized by buildings of Baroque architecture, built at the time of the dominion of the Knights of St. John almost five centuries ago.
Very beautiful is the Mediterranean environment of its alleys full of characteristic restaurants, cafes and bars. There are interesting churches such as the majestic Co-cathedral of St. John. Historic buildings with wooden balconies hold priceless artistic treasures. The city is today one of Malta’s main tourist attractions.
Since 1980 Valletta has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage listed sites. The Grand Harbor, the port of Malta, which is often described as the most beautiful natural harbor in the Mediterranean, forms the backdrop to the unique setting of the city.