Saturday, April 26, 2014

Random Bits of Valletta, Malta

Our first sight in Valletta was the Auberge de Castile et Leon. The auberges were a sort of headquarters for the eight different langues or nationalities represented by the Order of St. John. Each building had a chapel, dining hall, and accommodations. Richer knights could live outside the auberge but had to dine at least four times a week at the auberge. Only five buildings have survived to the present day and only two are open to the public. The Auberge de Castile et Leon is not open to the public since it now houses the prime minister's office. A statue of a prime minister is even across the street, presumably keeping an eye on things!

J by the prime minister's offices

PM Paul Boffa

Just behind the PM is a church called Our Lady of Victory. This church is the oldest building in Valletta, constructed to commemorate the successful defense of the Great Siege ending in 1565. Grand Master la Valette laid the foundation stone and asked to be buried there. His body was eventually moved to the Co-Cathedral where most of the other Maltese Grand Masters are buried.

Our Lady of Victory, Valletta

The streets of Valletta are compact but not crowded (at least not when we visited in February). They have a wide variety of shops but the strong Catholic identity of the island is obvious.

Market Street

A side street

Bespoke Communion and Confirmation suits!

Valletta is on a peninsula dividing the Grand Harbor from the Marsamxett Harbor. We saw a bit of the Grand Harbor side, including the view over to Fort St. Angelo and Fort Ricasoli.

Grand Harbor

More of the harbor

Fort Ricasoli

We even stood guard for a bit. We were watchful enough to see some maritime graffiti in the area.

J, Mommy and L

Ship-shape graffiti

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