Encircle Valletta, Malta

There are four Maltese towns along the Grand Harbour near the main attraction of Valletta. The Three Cities have historically played a major role in the defense of Malta. The suburb of Floriana is near Valletta’s main gate on the west end.

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1 Bridled Horse Profile Near Valletta, Malta

Malta is becoming a popular Mediterranean destination for cruise ships. About 300 ships a year disembark nearly a half million passengers. When you step onto the waterfront terminal you are confronted with several sightseeing options. If you’d like to tour the island, the least expensive choice is a hop-on hop-off bus. If you want a touch of romance while seeing Valetta, then a horse-drawn carriage is the way to go. But the capital city is small and remarkably walkable at least once you reach its elevated location. So get a lift by taking the new elevator from the Grand Harbour up to the Upper Barrakka Gardens.

Valletta Waterfront, Valletta, Malta
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2 Old Power House in Floriana Near Valletta, Malta

Most tourists to Valletta spend their time visiting the historic buildings inside the fortified upper levels. But if you have some extra time, then walk the 300 foot promenade along the Valletta Waterfront. These buildings were once warehouses for the knights. The color of the door signified the type of merchandise stored inside. An example is this Old Power House. It was an arsenal in the late 17th century, used to store vats of lamp fuel during the 1700s and later became a power station. Current plans are to incorporate it into the city’s cruise terminal.

Xatt Pinto Il-Furjana, Malta
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3 Porte des Bombes in Floriana near Valletta, Malta

When the Porte des Bombes was built in 1721 it was the gate for a new wall into Floriana at the west side of Valletta. It was part of a fortification project initiate by Ramon Perellos y Roccaful which is why his coat of arms adorns the top of the Baroque structure. He was a Grand Master of the Order of Malta from 1697 until 1720. At the turn of the 19th century, this spot was occupied by Napoleon’s French troops during the Siege of Malta.

Triq Nazzjonali, Il-Furjana, Malta
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4 War Memorial in Floriana Near Valletta, Malta

During World War II, nearly 2,300 airmen from the British Commonwealth perished but were never recovered and properly buried. As a tribute to these servicemen missing in action, the Malta Memorial was created by Sir Hubert Worthington in 1954. It stands in Floriana which is a neighboring town of Valletta. At the top of the 49 foot marble column is a gilded eagle. Along the pedestal are the names of all of the gallant men.

Vjal Nelson Il-Belt Valletta, Malta
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5 Triton Fountain in Floriana Near Valletta, Malta

This Triton Fountain was sculpted by Vincent Apap and erected outside of Valletta’s main gate at Floriana in 1959. Triton was a Greek god, the messenger of the sea and the son of Poseidon. Yet there are three mermen here and none are holding the characteristic trident. This suggests they are a host of Tritones which were fish-tail Daemones of the sea and counterparts to seas nymphs.

Vjal Nelson, Il-Belt Valletta, Malta
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6 Christ the King Monument in Floriana Near Valletta, Malta

The International Eucharistic Congress is a meeting of Roman Catholic cardinals, archbishops, clergy and lay people from around the world who gather for a series of ceremonies over several days. Since the tradition began at Lille, France, in 1881 it has been subsequently hosted by different international cities. This bronze statue of Christ the Redeemer in Floriana by sculptor Antonio Sciortino commemorates when the 24th congress was held in Malta in 1913.

Vjal Ir-Re Dwardu VII Il-Belt Valletta, Malta
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7 Hotel Phoenicia in Floriana Near Valletta, Malta

When Lady Strickland envisioned building a luxury hotel on the island of Malta in 1935, no one foresaw the coming of WWII. Just when the Hotel Phoenicia was almost finished in 1939 it was taken over by the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force. Then in 1942 it was nearly destroyed by 100 Axis bombs. It took six years to fully restore the 7 ½ acre property. But her dreams were finally realized because today it is one of three five-star hotels in Valletta or this neighboring suburb of Floriana.

The Mall, Floriana, Il-Belt Valletta FRN1478, Malta
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8 Villa Bighi in Kalkara near Valletta, Malta

After the Bighi Hospital was built in 1832 by the Royal Engineers of the British Army, it became known as the “nurse of the Mediterranean” because of its mission to medically treat any military personnel in the region. It was particularly active during World War I and suffered from Axis air raids during WWII. The facility was closed in 1970. In 2010, the Heritage Malta took over the neo-classical buildings. This national agency is responsible for managing about a dozen of the country’s museums plus archeological sites and this Malta Centre for Restoration.

Lower Barrakka Gardens Quarry Wharf, Il-Belt Valletta, Malta
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9 Ricasoli Lighthouse in Kalkara near Valletta, Malta

The Ricasoli Lighthouse stands about 100 feet on a breakwater along the eastern entry of the Grand Harbour in Malta. It is named after Fort Ricasoli which was built by the Knights of St. John at the end of the 17th century. It is located next to this stone pier in the town of Kalkara. The beacon was erected in 1908.

Mediterranean Street Valletta, Malta
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10 Collegiate Church of Immaculate Conception in Cospicua near Valletta, Malta

The dome and twin bell towers of the Collegiate Church of Immaculate Conception dominate the cityscape of Cospicua as seen from the Grand Harbour. This town is part of the Three Cities. Each of them played a historic role in Malta’s defense dating back to the rule of the Order of Saint John which started in 1566. The tall bastion in the foreground gave this town of about 5,400 the name Città Cospicua. The fortification encircling the city is called the Santa Margherita Lines.

Triq Alessandra Bormla, Malta
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