Built on Mount Sceberras

By: Douglas Scott

Valletta, is Maltas capital. It is the smallest capital of the European Union, is now the islands financial centre and major commercial and the permanent seat of the Maltese government. The city was built after the Great Siege of Malta by the Ottoman Turks in 1565. It is built on top of a hill called Mount Sceberras, and surrounded by harbours or the sea on three sides.

The city had two great sieges. The first siege by the Ottoman turks in 1565 when the Knights of St. John repelled the invaders and the second in the Second World War when the German and Italian forces bombed and attempted to unsuccessfully starve the island into submission..

St Barbara's Bastion is apparently one of Valletta's swankiest residential streets with some lovely apartments, having spectacular views over the harbour.

Valletta is Malta's main shopping centre and the main street is Republic Street. Merchant street, is the location of the market.

There is actually no night life in Valletta, after 21 o'clock every thing is closed and the streets are virtually empty.

When the summer festivals are on, you will find plenty of partying in the streets of Valletta at night. For the large fiestas, mainly Carnival and the feast day of St. Paul on February 10, the celebrations are even rowdier, with people dressed in colourful costumes, fireworks and performers playing traditional music.

There are 25 different churches in Valletta, St John's Co-Cathedral is one of the largest and most spectacular churches in Europe. The treasures found in the Cathedral are the unique Caravaggio Painting depicting the beheading of St. John, and an extraordinary paving of more than 300 marble in-lay tomb slabs and a splendid vaulted central nave with frescos of Mattia Preti.

The Grand Master's Palace was the head of the Order of the Knights of St John, and a total of 21 incumbents lived in this sumptuous building from 1575 until 1798, when the island was surrendered to Napoleon and the Order disbanded.

The Rolex Middle Sea Race, is organised by the Royal Malta Yacht Club, and is one of the oldest and toughest off shore racing Classics. It is held at the end of the Northern Hemisphere sailing season. Ted Turner has described the event as the most beautiful race course in the world. The best place to watch the ships depart is from the Sliemma Promenade in Valletta.

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