GUEST POST: VALLETTA TRAVEL GUIDE
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Valletta is the capital city of Malta with its eastern coast in the Grand Harbor and western coast connected with Marsamxett harbor. It’s a historical city with the population of only 6444.
Valletta contains many of the buildings constructed in the 16th century during the rule of the Order of St. John. The city essentially seems flamboyant because of the mixture of the elements of mannerism, Neo-Classicism, and Modernism. Major discoloration can be seen in many cities because of the horrors of World War 2 especially the destruction of Royal Opera House.
In 1980 Valletta was accredited by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. It is also called Superbissima because of its gardens, churches, cavaliers and bestions. It has two basic ports: Marsamxett and Grand Harbor, the latter is an important port with unloading quays. The city has dry summers and wet winters. This city is considered Malta’s cultural center because of many historical buildings and churches. Benjamin Disraeli remarked about Valletta “Valletta equals in its noble architecture, if does not excel, any capital in Europe.” Here is a list of different places to visit while one is in Valletta
Hal Saflieni Hypogeum
This is a burial complex and was made by the same people who built prehistoric temples and cathedrals from 3600 BC to2500 BC. This complex is made of cut stones and is one of the most visited and acknowledged site of cultural heritage by UNESCO. For preservation and maintenance reasons only ten people are allowed per day to visit this place. It is recommended that if anyone is interested in visiting this place he should book his tickets in advance.
The journey into the complex starts with a movie and then entering into the underworld. A good audio guide is also provided. The complex has three layers each with its own rooms and it is said that complex once contained more than 7000 bodies deposited down here in these rooms for more than 1000 years.
The most interesting and the holiest thing is the carved stone copy of above temples. These carved temples of stones are far more preserved than the actual ones because these lie far deep underground. It is recommended that a person should arrange for tickets, if he is interested in this place, as early as possible because otherwise, he is not likely to get permission to enter into this magnificent place. It should also be noted that children under six are not allowed to enter in this place.
Malta is famous for one of the best diving centers in Mediterranean which has many diving centers and which offer different diving courses from beginner to the pro level experts.
It is estimated that each year more than 50000 people come here for diving. Diving in Malta has its own distinctions because it is not much about the colorful sea life as much it is about the different landscapes few of them naturally created and few of them artificially created by placing wreck of different things. It should also be noted that Malta once experienced the horrors of the war.
For discounts on different diving courses consider looking at Groupon.
Saint John’s Co-Cathedral
This Cathedral is a symbol of those knights and rulers who built it as a strength to Christianity and to secure their christen faith from the attacks of the Ottoman Turks. Most visitors of that time were awestruck when they visited this cathedral. Externally it seems more like a historical building but the interior looks more like a jewelry box.
Most visitors after admiring the external structure move towards admiring its interior decoration and finally they think themselves limited to words to admire the beauty of ceilings on which different things are painted. A well-known painter Mattia pretti is accredited with different paintings of Saint John. The whole floor of the cathedral is lined with 400 marble tombstones.
Different Co-Cathedrals represent the support of different knights and rulers to Saint John, who hailed Saint John and supported him whenever necessary. The famous chapels among them are The Chapel of Langue of Aragon, The Chapel of Langue of France and The Chapel of Langue of Italy. One of the important places to visit in Cathedral is Oratory which contains different paintings of well-known painters; the most famous among them is “The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist by Caravaggio”. One can walk down to the area of Place Square after visiting the Cathedral.
Grand Master’s Palace
This building was initially declared a place for the residentce of knights by Master Fra Pietro Del Monte and this building stands in the center of place square. The building was boardened with the passage of time and is currently used as a house of parliament and a residential place for the president of Malta. Apart from these two areas the rest of the building is allowed to the tourists and they enter the building from the grandiose courtyard. There are paintings everywhere even on the ceilings which were made to impress the visitors. There are magnificent hallways and staterooms with plenty of artworks like series of murals by Matteo Perez d'Aleccio which portray completely the siege of 1565. There are paintings of official victory of knights and different festivals following the victory. There is one Red Room where knights met Ambassadors and other knights for strategic missions.
The Grand Harbor is one of the most strategic places which caused the victory of Malawians against Ottoman Turks. This harbor is full of high walls, fortifications, and towers. By this strategic place, knights could dock their battleships and still could remain out of the reach of the enemy. The harbor is shaped like a multi-spiked fork and nowadays it allows different massive ships to enter. This port can assemble thousands of yachts making it one of the biggest ports in the world. There are densely populated towns nearby which include Vittoriosa, Cospicua, and Senglea. These three towns are known as “Three cities” which were the original places for the residence of knights.
National Museum of Archeology
The museum is accommodated in the previously called Auberge de Provence and it is one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture. Grand Salon is the place of much importance because of its fine polished wood roofs and for its highly decorated paintings on the walls. If one is in a hurry and wants to know the complete history of Malta in one day this is the right place for him. This museum contains 100 pieces which depict the 85 million year’s history of Malta. Artifacts include Roman cultural things and medieval antique things. The 5000 to 6000 artifacts and pottery are displayed here. There is a separate room for the Fat Statues of the Tarxien and the Sleeping lady which is a tiny figure of a woman representing the prehistoric beauty.
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