About Valletta

Valletta is Malta’s capital city locally referred to as “il-Belt”, which literally means “the City” in Maltese. The name derives from the Grand Master of the Knights of Saint John, Jean Parisot de Valette, who was instrumental in its design and construction. The city’s architect was Francesco Laparelli (who worked with Michelangelo on the dome of Saint Peter’s Basilica.) Maltese architect Girolamo Cassar assisted Laparelli in his endeavours.

The impressive fortified city was built in grid system ‘for the people, by the people’ and the Order of Saint John officially named it Humilissima Civitas Valletta—The Most Humble City of Valletta. However, due to the impressive Baroque palaces, gardens and churches it houses, it was colloquially referred to as Superbissima—Most Proud, by the leading ruling houses of Europe.

Valletta is best known for being a living museum, since it features a stunning array of 16th century buildings all within walking distance of each other. In view of this, UNESCO officially recognised the City of Valletta as a World Heritage Site, in 1980. Most of the buildings have a decisively Baroque flavour, enhanced with Mannerist, Neo-Classical and Modern elements. While the capital was heavily damaged during the Second World War – which destroyed the Royal Opera House – various Governments have striven to restore the city to its full glory.

Valletta is located in the Malta’s south eastern region, with the capital’s western coast having access to the Marsamxett Harbour and its eastern coast accessing the Grand Harbour – the third largest natural harbour in Europe. The city has a population of 7,000 and is largely Malta’s economic and political centre with a number of government ministries, authorities as well a private companies housed within the city walls.

By night Valletta takes on a different, livelier character, due to the number of theatres, restaurants and wine bars dotted around its streets. Valletta will be hosting the European Capital of Culture in 2018 with the Valletta 2018 Foundation being responsible for the implementation of an extensive cultural programme.

191, Merchant Suites, Merchants Street, Valletta

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