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CruiseDirection - Magazine May 2019

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The island of Malta is well known throughout the world and the capital city of Valletta is not only a wonderful holiday destination, but also a World Heritage listed capital city. Even without the many different attractions in the city, it would be beautiful, especially with the Grand Harbour and the seaport district. With plenty of accommodation and restaurants to choose from, Valletta is the perfect getaway, especially for history buffs.  

Valletta has a fascinating history and the Saluting Battery, the Grand Master’s Palace and Lascaris War Rooms will appeal to war aficionados who visit this city. The Saluting Battery is located in the Upper Barakka Gardens and is currently undergoing restoration. Here you can learn what it was like to be an 18th century naval gunner and tours are given on a daily basis. The Grand Master’s Palace and Armoury is the home of the Knights of St John, which is the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and dates back to the Crusades. The small armoury is open to visitors and contains various relics including swords, armour and helmets.

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Why visit Valletta ?

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The perfect getaway

Even without the many different attractions in the city, it would be beautiful

The Great Siege of Malta occurred in 1565 when the Knights of St John retained the island. There is a re-enactment of the siege in Republic Square at specific times and the museum’s waxworks and sound effects provide some good historical entertainment. The Lascaris War Room is an underground complex where the city planned its holdout against the Italian Fascist Army of World War II. Malta itself received the George Cross for its valour during the many battles that almost destroyed the city of Valletta, and visitors can experience a taste of what it was like in that bunker during wartime. Getting around Valetta can be tiring because of the steep hills, but you can enjoy seeing the city by renting one of the horses and carts. Make sure you haggle over the price as the owners expect it, and they will answer questions you have about the things you see if you ask in a polite and respectful manner.  

What else does Valetta hold? The interior of the St John’s Co-Cathedral is beautiful and unique. There are numerous small chapels lining the nave set up by the many different knights from different countries that served Malta. There are frescoes all over the interior, and the floor is covered by the inlaid marble of each knight’s grave. The Cathedral Museum holds works by Caravaggio including the famous ‘Beheading of St John the Baptist’.  

The National Museum of Fine Art and the National Museum of Archaeology hold impressive artwork and relics for the area. The area also has numerous forts to explore. The beaches are also welcoming and visitors are encouraged to enjoy a day soaking up the sun and surf before heading back to one of the many restaurants for a delicious meal.

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