Valletta has a lot to offer to both locals and tourists alike. As you walk through the streets of our capital city, you’ll discover that most landmarks and sites are synonymous with Malta’s long history.

Here are some of the best views in Valletta that have contributed to shaping the nation’s cultural heritage… and which will surely take your breath away.

The Triton Fountain

Photo credit: Christine Cassar

The famous Triton Fountain is your starting point to discovering some of Valletta’s most iconic views. It sits proudly right outside City Gate, attracting the attention of many locals and tourists with its dynamics and impressive scale.

It was constructed in the year 1959, by sculptor Victor Apap and draughtsman Victor Anastasi. Apap was inspired to create this magnificent landmark from Rome’s Fontana delle Tartarughe. As indicated by all the elements related to the sea, the fountain is is closely linked to ancient Greek traditions. Apap chose to include three bronze mythological Tritons holding up a plate – two of them are sitting, while the other is kneeling. The three of them together, are balanced on a seaweed base.

Unfortunately, in the late 70s, the plate and two of the tritons were seriously damaged. Apap chose to include a bronze pillar right in the centre of the plate, to repair the damage that had occurred and to hide the new water supply system, since the original design had to be altered. Additionally, he also added a couple of seagulls, to go along with the marine theme.

Over the last few years, the fountain has been restored to its former glory and is nowadays still point of reference to many people.

Maltese Balconies

Photo credit: Christine Cassar

Valletta is a haven for architecture lovers – Republic Street and the Upper Barrakka areas are prime examples of this. The traditional Maltese balconies that have certainly contributed to shaping the Maltese urban landscape. With their distinct styles and unique accents, they create a wonderful contrast with our limestone-hued houses and streets.

Area around ‘Bridge Bar’

Photo credit: Christine Cassar

Fancy a bite to eat? Head down to Bridge Bar, located next to the steps of the Upper Barrakka. You simply can’t miss their little red windows and balconies. Over the years, Bridge Bar has become a popular attraction to all those who love a spot of jazz. Coloured cushions are laid out on the steps for patrons to enjoy the music, and the harbour view, over a drink.

The Grand Harbour

If you want to enjoy more architectural delights as well as a good dose of history, head further down until you spot the imposing structure of the Grand Harbour.

This is a natural harbour that dates back to Phoenician times. More importantly, it also served as the base for the Knights of St John between the years 1530 and 1798 , as well as the British a further 170 years.

During the Knights’ rule, they moved and settled in Birgu after they worked on improving its fortifications. However, the year 1551 marked a long battle with the Ottomans who had ruthlessly set out to raid Malta. After a number of attacks, the Grand Harbour served as the last spot for the final battle of 1565 – one of the most important battles in the country’s long history, that later became famously known as the Great Siege of Malta.

After the Knights had defeated the Ottomans, Valletta was constructed on the Sciberras peninsula on the north west shore of the Harbour. Over the years, more fortifications and settlements were erected within the Grand Harbour, including Fort Ricasoli and the towns of Floriana and Bormla, to further protect the people against any future attacks.

St John’s Cathedral

 

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If you are interested in all things art, you simply can’t miss out on a visit to St John’s Co-Cathedral. With its richly ornamented high Baroque architecture, marble floors, and some of the finest 16th and 17th century paintings, this is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful looking cathedrals in the world.

Along with some of the Cathedral’s masterpieces, it houses one of Europe’s most impressive works of art – Carvaggio’s Beheading of St John the Baptist. During his stay in Malta in 1608, Caravaggio painted this on oil canvas. Over the years, it has been restored and is nowadays available for visitors on their way to the museum.

Overall, Valletta truly offers something for everyone. Its long history has truly shaped it into one of the most stunning and leading capital cities around Europe.

Fabien Vella

Author Fabien Vella

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