Valletta

Valletta (/vəˈlɛtə/, Maltese pronunciation: [ˈvɐlɛ.tɐ]) is the capital city of Malta. Located in the south east of the island, between Marsamxett Harbour to the west and the Grand Harbour to the east, its population in 2014 was 6,444,[4] while the metropolitan area around it has a population of 393,938.[2] Valletta is the southernmost capital of Europe.

Valletta's 16th century buildings were constructed by the Knights Hospitaller. The city is Baroque in character, with elements of Mannerist, Neo-Classical and Modern architecture, though the Second World War left major scars on the city, particularly the destruction of the Royal Opera House. The city was officially recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1980.[5]

The city's fortifications, consisting of bastions, curtains and cavaliers, along with the beauty of its Baroque palaces, gardens and churches, led the ruling houses of Europe to give the city its nickname SuperbissimaItalian for Most Proud.

Valletta

Il-Belt Valletta
From top: Skyline, Saluting Battery, Lower Barrakka Gardens, St. John's Co-Cathedral and the city walls
Flag of Valletta

Flag
Coat of arms of Valletta

Coat of arms
Nickname(s): 
Il-Belt
Valletta in Malta
Coordinates: 35°53′4″N 14°30′25″E / 35.88444°N 14.50694°ECoordinates: 35°53′4″N 14°30′25″E / 35.88444°N 14.50694°E[1]
CountryMalta
RegionSouth Eastern Region
DistrictSouthern Harbour District
Established28 March 1566
Capital city18 March 1571
Founded byJean de Valette
BordersFloriana
Government
 • MayorAlexiei Dingli (PN)
Area
 • Local council0.8 km2 (0.3 sq mi)
Elevation
56 m (184 ft)
Population
(March 2014)
 • Local council6,444
 • Density8,100/km2 (21,000/sq mi)
 • Urban
355,000[3]
 • Metro
393,938[2]
Demonym(s)Belti (m), Beltija (f), Beltin (pl)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
VLT
Dialing code356
ISO 3166 codeMT-60
Patron saintsSt. Dominic
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
St. Paul
St. Augustine
Day of festa3 August
10 February
WebsiteOfficial website
UNESCO World Heritage Site
CriteriaCultural: i, vi
Reference131
Inscription1980 (4th Session)
Area55.5 ha

History

The peninsula was previously called Xagħret Mewwija (Mu' awiya – Meuia; named during the Arab period[6])[7][8] or Ħal Newwija.[9] Mewwija refers to a sheltered place.[10] The extreme end of the peninsula was known as Xebb ir-Ras (Sheb point), of which name origins from the lighthouse on site.[11][12] A family which surely owned land became known as Sceberras, now a Maltese surname as Sciberras.[13] At one point the entire peninsula became known as Sceberras.[12] (See also)

Order of Saint John

Malta - Valletta - Triq il-Merkanti 12 ies
Former mural at Is-Suq tal-Belt showing the city's construction

The building of a city on the Sciberras Peninsula had been proposed by the Order of Saint John as early as 1524.[14] Back then, the only building on the peninsula was a small watchtower[15] dedicated to Erasmus of Formia (Saint Elmo), which had been built in 1488. In 1552, the watchtower was demolished and the larger Fort Saint Elmo was built in its place.[16]

In the Great Siege of 1565, Fort Saint Elmo fell to the Ottomans, but the Order eventually won the siege with the help of Sicilian reinforcements. The victorious Grand Master, Jean de Valette, immediately set out to build a new fortified city on the Sciberras Peninsula to fortify the Order's position in Malta and bind the Knights to the island. The city took his name and was called La Valletta.[17]

The Grand Master asked the European kings and princes for help, and he received a lot of assistance, due to the increased fame of the Order after their victory in the Great Siege. Pope Pius V sent his military architect, Francesco Laparelli, to design the new city, while Philip II of Spain sent substantial monetary aid. The foundation stone of the city was laid by Grand Master de Valette on 28 March 1566. He placed the first stone in what later became Our Lady of Victories Church.[18]

In his book Dell’Istoria della Sacra Religione et Illustrissima Militia di San Giovanni Gierosolimitano (English: The History of the Sacred Religion and Illustrious Militia of St John of Jerusalem), written between 1594 and 1602, Giacomo Bosio writes that when the cornerstone of Valletta was placed, a group of Maltese elders said: "Iegi zimen en fel wardia col sceber raba iesue uquie" (Which in modern Maltese reads, "Jiġi żmien li fil-Wardija [l-Għolja Sciberras] kull xiber raba’ jiswa uqija", and in English, "There will come a time when every piece of land on Sciberras Hill will be worth its weight in gold").[19]

De Valette died from a stroke on 21 August 1568 at age 74 and never saw the completion of his city. Originally interred in the church of Our Lady of the Victories, his remains now rest in St. John's Co-Cathedral among the tombs of other Grand Masters of the Knights of Malta.[18]

St Lazarus Curtain
Aerial view showing the exterior and interior outlines of Valletta

Francesco Laparelli was the city's principal designer and his plan departed from medieval Maltese architecture, which exhibited irregular winding streets and alleys. He designed the new city on a rectangular grid plan, and without any collacchio (an area restricted for important buildings). The streets were designed to be wide and straight, beginning centrally from the City Gate and ending at Fort Saint Elmo (which was rebuilt) overlooking the Mediterranean; certain bastions were built 47 metres (154 ft) tall. His assistant was the Maltese architect Girolamo Cassar, who later oversaw the construction of the city himself after Laparelli's death in 1570.[18]

The Ufficio delle Case regulated the building of the city as a planning authority.[20]

The city of Valletta was mostly complete by the early 1570s, and it became the capital on 18 March 1571 when Grand Master Pierre de Monte moved from his seat at Fort St Angelo in Birgu to the Grandmaster's Palace in Valletta.

Seven Auberges were built for the Order's Langues, and these were complete by the 1580s.[21][22] An eighth Auberge, Auberge de Bavière, was later added in the 18th century.[23]

In Antoine de Paule's reign, it was decided to build more fortifications to protect Valletta, and these were named the Floriana Lines after the architect who designed them, Pietro Paolo Floriani of Macerata.[24] During António Manoel de Vilhena's reign, a town began to form between the walls of Valletta and the Floriana Lines, and this evolved from a suburb of Valletta to Floriana, a town in its own right.[25]

In 1634, a gunpowder factory explosion killed 22 people in Valletta.[26] In 1749, Muslim slaves plotted to kill Grandmaster Pinto and take over Valletta, but the revolt was suppressed before it even started due to their plans leaking out to the Order.[27] Later on in his reign, Pinto embellished the city with Baroque architecture, and many important buildings such as Auberge de Castille were remodeled or completely rebuilt in the new architectural style.[28]

In 1775, during the reign of Ximenes, an unsuccessful revolt known as the Rising of the Priests occurred in which Fort Saint Elmo and Saint James Cavalier were captured by rebels, but the revolt was eventually suppressed.[29]

French occupation and British rule

Bomb Damage in Valletta, Malta, 1 May 1942. A8701
Bomb damage in Valletta during the Second World War

In 1798, the Order left the islands and the French occupation of Malta began.[30] After the Maltese rebelled, French troops continued to occupy Valletta and the surrounding harbour area, until they capitulated to the British in September 1800. In the early 19th century, the British Civil Commissioner, Henry Pigot, agreed to demolish the majority of the city's fortifications.[31] The demolition was again proposed in the 1870s and 1880s, but it was never carried out and the fortifications have survived largely intact.[14]

Eventually building projects in Valletta resumed under British rule. These projects included widening gates, demolishing and rebuilding structures, widening newer houses over the years, and installing civic projects. The Malta Railway, which linked Valletta to Mdina, was officially opened in 1883.[32] It was closed down in 1931 after buses became a popular means of transport.

In 1939, Valletta was abandoned as the headquarters of the Royal Navy Mediterranean Fleet due to its proximity to Italy and the city became a flashpoint during the subsequent two-year long Siege of Malta.[33] German and Italian air raids throughout the Second World War caused much destruction in Valletta and the rest of the harbour area. The Royal Opera House, constructed at the city entrance in the 19th century, was one of the buildings lost to the raids.[16]

Contemporary

Valletta, Malta - 2018 (39570984425)
Old town

In 1980, the 24th Chess Olympiad took place in Valletta.[34]

The entire city of Valletta has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1980, along with Megalithic Temples of Malta and the Hypogeum of Ħal-Saflieni.[5][35] On 11 November 2015 Valletta hosted the Valletta Summit on Migration in which European and African leaders discussed the European migrant crisis.[36] After that, on 27 November 2015 the city also hosted part of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2015.[37]

Valletta has been selected as the European Capital of Culture for 2018.[38]

Government

Local government

Malta - Valletta - Triq Nofs-in-Nhar + Local Council 01 ies
Palazzo Lascaris, the former local council building

The Valletta Local Council was established by the Local Councils Act of 1993, along with the other local councils of Malta.[39] The first election was held on 20 November 1993. Other elections were held in 1996, 1999, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2013,[40] and the next elections are set to be held in 2017.[41]

The following people have served as Mayors of Valletta:[42]

  • Hector Bruno (1993–1999)
  • Paul Borg Olivier (1999–2008)
  • Alexei Dingli (2008–present)

The present local council was elected in 2013 and is made up of the following members:[43]

  • Alexei Dingli (mayor)
  • Christian Micallef (deputy mayor)
  • Norman Shaw
  • Raymond Azzopardi
  • Raymond Attard
  • Vincent Fabri
  • Vincent Farrugia
  • Gabriella Agius (executive secretary)

The local council is currently housed in a building in South Street. Since the city has been selected as the European Capital of Culture, the council began to look for new premises at a more central location. Various proposals were made, including the Main Guard, the Grandmaster's Palace, Fort Saint Elmo and the former HSBC offices, but nothing has been decided as of 2015.[44]

National government

Valletta is the capital city of Malta,[45] and is the country's administrative and commercial hub.[46] The Parliament of Malta is housed at the Parliament House near the city's entrance since 2015, and it was previously housed at the Grandmaster's Palace in the city centre.[47] The latter palace still houses the Office of the President of Malta,[48] while Auberge de Castille houses the Office of the Prime Minister of Malta. The courthouse and many government departments are also located in Valletta.[49]

Geography

Valletta, Malta
Satellite view of Valletta

The Valletta peninsula has two natural harbours, Marsamxett and the Grand Harbour.[35] The Grand Harbour is Malta's major port, with unloading quays at nearby Marsa. A cruise-liner terminal is located along the old seawall of the Valletta Waterfront that Portuguese Grandmaster Manuel Pinto da Fonseca built.[50]

Climate

Valletta features a hot-summer Mediterranean climate Csa with warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters. Valletta experiences a lack of precipitation during the summer months and most of the precipitation happens during the winter months. Winter temperatures are moderated by the city’s proximity to the sea. As a result, Valletta has mild winters. The official climate recording station in Malta is at Luqa Airport, which is a few miles inland from Valletta. Average high temperatures range from around 15 °C (59 °F) in January to about 31 °C (88 °F) in August, while average low temperatures range from around 9 °C (48 °F) in January to 22 °C (72 °F) in August. The Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is "Hot-summer Mediterranean climate" Csa (Mediterranean Climate).

Cityscape

Vallettaupperbarraccagardens
Lower Barrakka Gardens and its monuments of remembrance

The architecture of Valletta's streets and piazzas ranges from mid-16th century Baroque to Modernism. The city is the island's principal cultural centre and has a unique collection of churches, palaces and museums and act as one of the city's main visitor attractions. When Benjamin Disraeli, future British Prime Minister, visited the city in 1830, he described it as "a city of palaces built by gentlemen for gentlemen," and remarked that "Valletta equals in its noble architecture, if it does not excel, any capital in Europe," and in other letters called it "comparable to Venice and Cádiz" and "full of palaces worthy of Palladio."[53][54]

Buildings of historic importance include St John's Co-Cathedral, formerly the Conventual Church of the Knights of Malta. It has the only signed work and largest painting by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.[55] The Auberge de Castille et Leon, formerly the official seat of the Knights of Malta of the Langue of Castille, Léon and Portugal, is now the office of the Prime Minister of Malta.[49] The Grandmaster's Palace, built between 1571 and 1574 and formerly the seat of the Grand Master of the Knights of Malta, used to house the Maltese Parliament, now situated in a purpose-built structure at the entrance to the city, and now houses the offices of the President of Malta.[56]

The National Museum of Fine Arts is a Rococo palace dating back to the late 1570s, which served as the official residence of the Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet during the British era from the 1820s onwards. The Manoel Theatre (Maltese: Teatru Manoel) was constructed in just ten months in 1731, by order of Grand Master António Manoel de Vilhena, and is one of the oldest working theatres in Europe. The Mediterranean Conference Centre was formerly the Sacra Infermeria. Built in 1574, it was one of Europe's most renowned hospitals during the Renaissance. The fortifications of the port, built by the Knights as a magnificent series of bastions, demi-bastions, cavaliers and curtains, approximately 100 metres (330 ft) high, all contribute to the unique architectural quality of the city.

Neighbourhoods

Valletta contains a number of unofficial neighbourhoods, including:[57]

  • Strada Rjali – the main thoroughfare, Triq ir-Repubblika
  • l-Arċipierku – an area close to the Sacra Infermeria. Its name possibly derives from archipelago since it contains a number of lanes which break up the area into many "islands" of houses, or from archi-borgo since the area is located just outside Fort Saint Elmo.[58]
  • il-Baviera – an area around the English Curtain, bounded by Old Bakery, Archbishop, Marsamxett and St. Sebastian Streets. It is named after Auberge de Bavière.[58]
  • il-Biċċerija – an area close to il-Baviera, named after the slaughterhouse which was formerly located there.[58]
  • il-Kamrata – an area close to the Sacra Infermeria. It is named after the Camerata, a spiritual retreat which was demolished in the 19th century and replaced by social housing.[58]
  • Deux Balles (Maltese: Duwi Balli) – an area close to il-Baviera. The name probably originates from the French occupation.[58]
  • il-Fossa – an area close to the Jews' Sally Port and Fort Saint Elmo. It is regarded as the worst maintained area of Valletta.[59]
  • Manderaggio (Maltese: il-Mandraġġ) – an area behind Manderaggio Curtain, bounded by St. Mark, St. Lucia, St. Patrick and Marsamxett Streets. This was meant to be a small harbour (mandracchio) but it was never completed, and a slum area developed instead. The slums were demolished in the 1950s and were rebuilt as housing estates.[58]

Education

The Valletta Campus of the University of Malta is situated in the Old University Building. It serves as an extension of the Msida Campus, especially offering international masters programmes.[60]

A church school, "St. Albert the Great", is also situated in Valletta. The Headmaster is Alternattiva Demokratika politician Mario Mallia.[61][62]

Culture

Malta GC. Valletta-1967 (8240967236)
Early morning in 1967 on the notorious Straight Street known to generations of British Servicemen (especially to sailors on shore leave) as "The Gut". Bars and bordellos abounded, and brawls were common. But its popularity never waned.

Valletta has been designated European Capital of Culture for 2018.[63] The year was inaugurated with an event called Erba' Pjazez (Four Squares), with shows focused in 4 plazas in the city – Triton Square, St. George's Square, St. John's Square, and Castille Square – along with other shows in other points.[64] This was followed by the unveiling of a public art installation, Kif Jgħid il-Malti (Maltese Sayings), which featured a number of Maltese language proverb figured in gypsum, in order to engage linguistic heritage.[65][66]

Saint James Cavalier

Saint James Cavalier, originally a raised gun platform, was converted into a Centre of Creativity in the year 2000 as part of Malta's Millennium Project. It now houses a small theatre, a cinema, music rooms and art galleries. Various exhibitions are regularly held there. Since it was opened it has welcomed over a million visitors.[67]

Music

The Valletta International Baroque Festival is held every year in January. Jazz music in Malta was introduced in the Strait Street area, frequented by Allied sailors during both world wars. Malta's Jazz Festival took place here. Strait Street is also known as The Gut. This area is undergoing a programme of regeneration. The city's dual band clubs are the "King's Own Band Club" (Maltese: L-Għaqda Mużikali King's Own) and "La Valette National Philarmonic Society" (Maltese: Is-Soċjetà Filarmonika Nazzjonali La Valette).

Carnival

Valletta is the scene of the Maltese Carnival, held in February leading up to Lent.[68]

Feasts

International relations

Twin towns and sister cities

Transport

Malta - Valletta - Vjal Nelson - City Gate Bus Station 01 ies
Bus station at Valletta

Malta International Airport is 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) from the city in the town of Luqa. Malta's public transport system, which uses buses, operates mostly on routes to or from Valletta, with their central terminus just outside the city gate. Traffic within the city itself is restricted, with some principal roads being completely pedestrian areas. In 2006, a park and ride system was implemented in order to increase the availability of parking spaces in the city. People can leave their vehicles in a nearby Floriana car park and transfer to a van for the rest of the trip.

In 2007, a congestion pricing scheme was implemented to reduce long-term parking and traffic while promoting business in the city.[69][70] An ANPR-based automated system takes photos of vehicles as they enter and exit the charging zone and vehicle owners are billed according to the duration of their stay.[69]

Valletta is served by a fleet of electric taxis which transport riders from 10 points in Valletta to any destination in the city.[71]

Sports

Cultural references

  • Several chapters of Thomas Pynchon's postmodern novel V. take place in the city of Valletta.
  • Much of Nicholas Rinaldi's novel The Jukebox Queen of Malta is set in Valletta.
  • Several chapters of Patrick O'Brian's novel Treason's Harbour, the 9th in his Aubrey-Maturin series, are set in Valletta.
  • Parts of Steven Spielberg's Academy Award nominee film Munich were shot in Valletta.
  • In the popular computer strategy game, Age Of Empires III, Valletta and its surrounding areas are featured as the base of the main protagonist, Morgan Black, and is the setting for the first two levels of the game.
  • Valletta is the birthplace of popular comic book character Corto Maltese, created by Italian artist Hugo Pratt.
  • Valletta is featured in the video game Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction.
  • Stefan Dorra's 2017 board game Valletta is about the construction of Valletta, presided over by Jean Parisot de Valette.

Further reading

  • Bianco, Lino (2009). "Valletta: A city in history" (PDF). Melita Theologica. University of Malta: Department of Architecture and Urban Design – Faculty for the Built Environment. 60 (2): 1–20. ISSN 1012-9588. OCLC 1587122. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 March 2018.

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  67. ^ "St.James Cavalier Theatre Overview in Valletta, Malta". Island of Gozo. Gozo Tourism Association. Retrieved 30 September 2014.
  68. ^ Cassar Pullicino, Joseph (October – December 1949). "The Order of St. John in Maltese folk-memory" (PDF). Scientia. 15 (4): 167. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 April 2016.
  69. ^ a b "CVA System – The Purpose Of". Controlled Vehicular Access Technology. Archived from the original on 6 March 2012. Retrieved 18 July 2015.
  70. ^ "Valletta traffic congestion considerably reduced". MaltaMedia News. 6 May 2007. Retrieved 5 April 2008.
  71. ^ Galea Debono, Fiona (15 June 2007). "Valletta gets its own clean taxi service". Times of Malta. Retrieved 24 June 2015.

External links

2007–08 Maltese Premier League

The 2007–08 Maltese Premier League (known as the BOV Premier League for sponsorship reasons) was the 28th season of the Maltese Premier League, and the 93nd season of top-level league football in Malta. Valletta won their nineteenth league title overcoming last season's champions, Marsaxlokk.

2018–19 Maltese Premier League

The 2018–19 Maltese Premier League is the 104th season of top-flight league football in Malta. The season began on 17 August 2018 and will end in April 2019. Valletta are the defending champions, having won their 24th title the previous season.

Amber Valletta

Amber Evangeline Valletta (born February 9, 1974) is an American model and actress. She began her career as a fashion model, landing her first of sixteen American Vogue covers at the age of eighteen. During the 1990s, Valletta reached the status of supermodel, working as the face of Giorgio Armani, Chanel, Escada, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Valentino, Gucci and Versace, and signing multimillion-dollar cosmetics contracts with Calvin Klein and Elizabeth Arden. From 1995 to 1996, Valletta and her friend and fellow model Shalom Harlow hosted the MTV show House of Style.

In the 2000s, Valletta began to focus on her career as an actress. She had her first major film role as a poltergeist in Robert Zemeckis's supernatural thriller What Lies Beneath (2000). She has since appeared in films such as Hitch (2005), Transporter 2 (2005), Man About Town (2006), Dead Silence (2007), Gamer (2009), and The Spy Next Door (2010). In 2011, she moved to television, appearing in a recurring role as the fallen socialite Lydia Davis on the ABC prime time soap opera Revenge. In 2015, Valletta starred as villainous Carla Briggs in another ABC soap opera, Blood & Oil.

Castellania (Valletta)

The Castellania (Maltese: Il-Kastellanija; Italian: La Castellania), also known as the Castellania Palace (Maltese: Il-Palazz Kastellanja; Italian: Palazzo Castellania), is a former courthouse and prison in Valletta, Malta. It was built by the Order of St. John between 1757 and 1760, on the site of an earlier courthouse which had been built in 1572.

The building was built in the Baroque style to design of the architect Francesco Zerafa, and completed by Giuseppe Bonici. It is a prominent building in Merchants Street, having an ornate façade with an elaborate marble centrepiece. Features of the interior include former court halls, a chapel, prison cells, a statue of Lady Justice at the main staircase and an ornate fountain in the courtyard.

From the late 18th to the early 19th century, the building was also known by a number of names, including the Palazzo del Tribunale, the Palais de Justice and the Gran Corte della Valletta. By the mid-19th century the building was deemed too small, and the courts were gradually moved to Auberge d'Auvergne between 1840 and 1853. The Castellania was then abandoned, before being briefly converted into an exhibition centre, a tenant house and a school.

In 1895, the building was converted into the head office of the Public Health Department. The department was eventually succeeded by Malta's health ministry (currently known as the Ministry for Health, the Elderly and Community Care), which is still housed in the Castellania. The building's ground floor contains a number of shops, while the belongings of Sir Themistocles Zammit's laboratory are now housed at the second floor and is open to the public by appointment as The Brucellosis Museum.

Church of Saint Barbara, Valletta

The Church of St Barbara (Maltese: Knisja ta' Santa Barbara, German: Kirche Sankt Barbara, French: Église Sainte-Barbara) is a Roman Catholic church situated in Valletta, Malta. The church was built to service the spiritual needs of the knights of Provence.

Church of Saint Catherine of Italy, Valletta

The Church of St Catherine of Alexandria (Maltese: Knisja ta' Santa Katerina, Italian: Chiesa di Santa Caterina d'Italia) is a Roman Catholic church situated in Valletta, Malta. The church serves as the parish church of the Italian community of Malta. Thus it is more commonly known as the church of St Catherine of Italy or Santa Katerina tal-Italja in Maltese.

Fortifications of Valletta

The fortifications of Valletta (Maltese: Is-Swar tal-Belt Valletta) are a series of defensive walls and other fortifications which surround the capital city of Valletta, Malta. The first fortification to be built was Fort Saint Elmo in 1552, but the fortifications of the city proper began to be built in 1566 when it was founded by Grand Master Jean de Valette. Modifications were made throughout the following centuries, with the last major addition being Fort Lascaris which was completed in 1856. Most of the fortifications remain largely intact today.

The city of Valletta, along with Nicosia in Cyprus, was considered to be a practical example of an ideal city of the Renaissance, and this was due to its fortifications as well as the urban life within the city. The fortifications were well known throughout Europe by the 17th century, and might have influenced the designs of part of the Fortress of Luxembourg. In an 1878 book, Valletta was described as "one of the best fortified [cities] in the world." Today, Valletta's fortifications are regarded as the most important of the fortifications of Malta, and they form part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Grand Harbour

The Grand Harbour (Maltese: il-Port il-Kbir), also known as the Port of Valletta, is a natural harbour on the island of Malta. It has been substantially modified over the years with extensive docks, wharves, and fortifications.

Grandmaster's Palace (Valletta)

The Grandmaster's Palace (Maltese: Il-Palazz tal-Granmastru), officially known as The Palace (Maltese: Il-Palazz), is a palace in Valletta, Malta. It was built between the 16th and 18th centuries as the palace of the Grand Master of the Order of St. John, who ruled Malta, and was also known as the Magisterial Palace (Maltese: Palazz Maġisterjali). It eventually became the Governor's Palace (Maltese: Palazz tal-Gvernatur), and it currently houses the Office of the President of Malta. Parts of the building, namely the Palace State Rooms and the Palace Armoury, are open to the public as a museum run by Heritage Malta.

List of Maltese football champions

The Maltese football champions are the winners of the primary football competition in Malta, the Premier League. The league is contested on a round-robin system and the championship is awarded to the highest ranked team at the end of the season. Originally known as the First Division, it started with a disparate number of participating teams. Nowadays, it is contested by 14 teams. With a hiatus during the Second World War, the competition has been ever-present since its inception.

Sliema Wanderers is the most successful club with 26 titles, and the current champions are Valletta who won the 2017–18 competition.

Malta

Malta (, (listen); Maltese: [ˈmɐltɐ]), officially known as the Republic of Malta (Maltese: Repubblika ta' Malta), is a Southern European island country consisting of an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. It lies 80 km (50 mi) south of Italy, 284 km (176 mi) east of Tunisia, and 333 km (207 mi) north of Libya. With a population of about 475,000 over an area of 316 km2 (122 sq mi), Malta is the world's tenth smallest and fifth most densely populated country. Its capital is Valletta, which is the smallest national capital in the European Union by area at 0.8 km.2 The official languages are Maltese and English, with Maltese officially recognised as the national language and the only Semitic language in the European Union.

Malta has been inhabited since approximately 5900 BC. Its location in the centre of the Mediterranean has historically given it great strategic importance as a naval base, with a succession of powers having contested and ruled the islands, including the Phoenicians and Carthaginians, Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Normans, Aragonese, Knights of St. John, French, and British. Most of these foreign influences have left some sort of mark on the country's ancient culture.

Malta became a British colony in 1815, serving as a way station for ships and the headquarters for the British Mediterranean Fleet. It played an important role in the Allied war effort during the Second World War, and was subsequently awarded the George Cross for its bravery in the face of an Axis siege, and the George Cross appears on Malta's national flag. The British Parliament passed the Malta Independence Act in 1964, giving Malta independence from the United Kingdom as the State of Malta, with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state and queen. The country became a republic in 1974. It has been a member state of the Commonwealth of Nations and the United Nations since independence, and joined the European Union in 2004; it became part of the eurozone monetary union in 2008.

Malta has a long Christian legacy and its Archdiocese is claimed to be an apostolic see because Paul the Apostle was shipwrecked on "Melita", according to Acts of the Apostles, which is now widely taken to be Malta. While Catholicism is the official religion in Malta, Article 40 of the Constitution states that "all persons in Malta shall have full freedom of conscience and enjoy the free exercise of their respective mode of religious worship."Malta is a popular tourist destination with its warm climate, numerous recreational areas, and architectural and historical monuments, including three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Hypogeum of Ħal-Saflieni, Valletta, and seven megalithic temples which are some of the oldest free-standing structures in the world.

Maltese FA Trophy

The FA Trophy is an annual football cup competition that takes place in Malta. The cup was founded in 1933; following a match between England and Italy, played in Rome in May 1933, to where a number of pro-British Maltese supporters travelled to support the English side, The Football Association as recognition donated a silver trophy to be played on the model of the FA Cup.

The team who wins the cup, wins a place in the second qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League. This competition is now played on a knock-out basis between all the senior clubs in the Maltese and Gozitan football pyramids. The cup winners play a match for the Maltese Super Cup against the league champions of the season.

Maltese Premier League

The Maltese Premier League, known as BOV Premier League for sponsorship reasons with Bank of Valletta (colloquially known as Il-Kampjonat Premjer), is the top level league for football in Malta. Managed by the Malta Football Association, the Premier League is contested by 14 teams and operates on a promotion and relegation system with the First Division. As of August 2018, the Premier League ranks 45th out of 55 members in the UEFA coefficient.The league was first competed in 1909 as the First Division, before switching to its current name in 1980; the First Division in turn replaced the Second Division. Sliema Wanderers have won the title a record 26 times. The current champions are Valletta who won their 24th title in the 2017–18 season.

Maltese Super Cup

The Maltese Super Cup is an annual super cup tie held in Malta between the champions of the previous Maltese Premier League season and the holders of the Maltese FA Trophy. In the event that the Premier League champion also won the FA Trophy, the league runners-up takes its place as the opposition. Up till 2003, the match used to be played at the end of the season, however this was altered to be played around mid-December.

The current holders are Valletta, who defeated Balzan 2–1 in the final played on 13 December 2018.

Saluting Battery (Valletta)

The Saluting Battery (Maltese: Batterija tas-Salut) is an artillery battery in Valletta, Malta. It was constructed in the 16th century by the Order of Saint John, on or near the site of an Ottoman battery from the Great Siege of Malta. The battery forms the lower tier of St. Peter & Paul Bastion of the Valletta Land Front, located below the Upper Barrakka Gardens and overlooking Fort St. Angelo and the rest of the Grand Harbour.

The Saluting Battery was mainly used for firing ceremonial gun salutes and signals, but it also saw military use during the blockade of 1798–1800 and World War II. The battery remained an active military installation until its guns were removed by the British in 1954. It was restored and opened to the public in the early 21st century, and it is now equipped with eight working replicas of SBBL 32 pounders which fire gun signals daily at 1200 and 1600.

Siege of Malta (1798–1800)

The Siege of Malta, also known as the Siege of Valletta or the French Blockade (Maltese: L-Imblokk tal-Franċiżi), was a two-year siege and blockade of the French garrison in Valletta and the Three Cities, the largest settlements and main port on the Mediterranean island of Malta, between 1798 and 1800. Malta had been captured by a French expeditionary force during the Mediterranean campaign of 1798, and garrisoned with 3,000 men under the command of Claude-Henri Belgrand de Vaubois. After the British Royal Navy destroyed the French Mediterranean Fleet at the Battle of the Nile on 1 August 1798, the British were able to initiate a blockade of Malta, assisted by an uprising among the native Maltese population against French rule. After its retreat to Valletta, the French garrison faced severe food shortages, exacerbated by the effectiveness of the British blockade. Although small quantities of supplies arrived in early 1799, there was no further traffic until early 1800, by which time starvation and disease was having a disastrous effect on health, morale, and combat capability of the French troops.

In February 1800, a significant convoy under Contre-Admiral Jean-Baptiste Perrée sent from Toulon made a determined effort to resupply the garrison. The blockade squadron under Rear-Admiral Lord Nelson intercepted the convoy within sight of the starving troops on Malta. Perrée was killed and his flagship captured in the ensuing, but brief Battle of the Malta Convoy (1800). The following month, the ship of the line Guillaume Tell set sail from Valletta to Toulon, laden with soldiers, but this too was intercepted and in a hard-fought battle was forced to surrender to a larger British squadron. These defeats rendered the French position on Valletta untenable, and its surrender inevitable. Although Vaubois held out for another five months, he eventually surrendered on 4 September and Malta was retained by Britain.

Valletta F.C.

Valletta Football Club is a semi-professional football club based in Valletta, the capital city of Malta, and competes in the Maltese Premier League, the top flight of Maltese football. The club was founded in 1943 after a merge of Valletta Prestons, Valletta St. Paul's and Valletta United, the latter being a two-time league winner before the Second World War.

Considered as one of the most supported and successful clubs in Maltese football, the club has won 24 league titles, 14 FA Trophies and a record 11 Super Cups.

Valletta Summit on Migration

The Valletta Summit on Migration, also called the Valletta Conference on Migration, was a summit held in Valletta, Malta, on 11–12 November 2015, in which European and African leaders discussed the European migrant crisis. The summit resulted in the EU setting up an Emergency Trust Fund to promote development in Africa, in return for African countries to help out in the crisis.

The summit was held at three venues in Valletta. The opening ceremony was held at Auberge de Castille, while the Mediterranean Conference Centre hosted the main conference. Fort Saint Elmo was used as a media centre. The summit was the largest one ever hosted in Malta, with around 4,000 people attending. The summit was held a few weeks before the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2015, which was also held in Malta.

Wignacourt Aqueduct

The Wignacourt Aqueduct (Maltese: L-Akwedott ta' Wignacourt) is a 17th-century aqueduct in Malta, which was built by the Order of Saint John to carry water from springs in Dingli and Rabat to the newly-built capital city Valletta. The aqueduct was carried through underground pipes and over arched viaducts across depressions in the ground.

The first attempts to build the aqueduct were made by Grand Master Martin Garzez in 1596, but construction was suspended before being continued in 1610. The watercourse was inaugurated five years later on 21 April 1615. Several engineers took part in the project, including Bontadino de Bontadini, Giovanni Attard and Natale Tomasucci. The aqueduct was named after Grand Master Alof de Wignacourt, who partially financed its construction.

The aqueduct remained in use until the 20th century. Most of its arches still survive today, and can still be seen in the localities of Attard, Balzan, Birkirkara, Fleur-de-Lys and Santa Venera. Other remains of the aqueduct include water towers at Santa Venera, Ħamrun and Floriana, and several fountains in Floriana and Valletta.

Climate data for Valletta, Malta 1960–1990 (Records 1947–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 22.2
(72.0)
26.7
(80.1)
33.5
(92.3)
30.7
(87.3)
35.3
(95.5)
40.1
(104.2)
42.7
(108.9)
43.8
(110.8)
37.4
(99.3)
34.5
(94.1)
28.2
(82.8)
24.3
(75.7)
43.8
(110.8)
Average high °C (°F) 15.2
(59.4)
15.5
(59.9)
16.7
(62.1)
19.1
(66.4)
23.3
(73.9)
27.5
(81.5)
30.7
(87.3)
30.7
(87.3)
28.0
(82.4)
24.2
(75.6)
20.1
(68.2)
16.7
(62.1)
22.3
(72.2)
Daily mean °C (°F) 12.2
(54.0)
12.4
(54.3)
13.4
(56.1)
15.5
(59.9)
19.1
(66.4)
23.0
(73.4)
25.9
(78.6)
26.3
(79.3)
24.1
(75.4)
20.7
(69.3)
17.0
(62.6)
13.8
(56.8)
18.6
(65.5)
Average low °C (°F) 9.2
(48.6)
9.3
(48.7)
10.1
(50.2)
11.9
(53.4)
14.9
(58.8)
18.4
(65.1)
21.0
(69.8)
21.8
(71.2)
20.1
(68.2)
17.1
(62.8)
13.9
(57.0)
11.0
(51.8)
14.9
(58.8)
Record low °C (°F) 1.4
(34.5)
1.7
(35.1)
2.2
(36.0)
4.4
(39.9)
8.0
(46.4)
12.6
(54.7)
15.5
(59.9)
15.9
(60.6)
13.2
(55.8)
8.0
(46.4)
5.0
(41.0)
3.6
(38.5)
1.4
(34.5)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 89.0
(3.50)
61.0
(2.40)
41.0
(1.61)
23.0
(0.91)
7.0
(0.28)
3.0
(0.12)
0.0
(0.0)
7.0
(0.28)
40.0
(1.57)
90.0
(3.54)
80.0
(3.15)
112.0
(4.41)
553
(21.77)
Average relative humidity (%) 79 79 79 77 74 71 69 73 77 78 77 79 76
Mean monthly sunshine hours 169.0 178.0 227.0 253.0 309.0 336.0 376.0 352.0 270.0 223.0 195.0 161.0 3,049
Source #1: ClimateData.EU[51]
Source #2: NSO Malta[52]
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