Malta’s capital city Valletta is inextricably linked with The Knights of Saint John. The city was founded in the 16th century and is named in the honour of Grandmaster Jean de la Valette, the hero of the 1565 Great Siege, where the Knights together with the Maltese overpowered a significantly superior fighting force of Ottoman Turks.

Valletta is a prime example of a late Renaissance planned fortified city, with a beautiful collection of magnificent palaces, churches and monuments that reflect Malta’s turbulent past.  And yet, the cities narrow wooden balcony-lined streets are alive with the sounds of locals going about their daily routines and tourists visiting the numerous museums, cafes, restaurants or just taking in the sun overlooking the magnificent Grand Harbour.

Traditional Wooden Maltese Balconies

St John’s Co-Cathedral

The modest and rather unassuming exterior of St John’s Co-Cathedral belies a truly unique baroque interior.  Commissioned in 1572 by Grand Master Jean de la Cassiére, as the Order of the Knights of St. John’s  conventual church, situated in Malta’s newly built capital city of Valletta.    The church was designed by the well established Maltese architect Girolamo Cassar, who is also credited for the design of numerous Valletta buildings that include many of the auberges and the Grand Master’s Palace.

Initially the church interior was simply decorated; however in 1660 during the tenure of Grand Master Raphael de Cotoner, the renowned Calabrian artist Mattia Preti was commissioned to transform the interior to rival the churches of Rome.  The interior is lavishly decorated with intricate carved and gilded stone reliefs and an exquisitely painted vaulted ceiling, depicting episodes of the life of St John the Baptist, and the floor is a complex patch work of marble slabs that are the final resting place for some 375 Knights of the Order.

The church is considered as among the finest examples of Baroque architecture in Europe and is worth seeing when visiting Malta’s capital city.

Malta Views

The Wonderful World of Carnival

As many of us know, Carnival will be celebrated from the 24th to the 28th February 2017. This means we need to prepare for closed roads, heavy traffic in and out of Valletta, and mile-long queues to and from Gozo. However, we all know it’s worth it in the end – after all, who doesn’t like a huge street party? It’s a great excuse to get out, celebrate the music, admire the parades, drink and eat until we pass out – and laugh at the outrageous outfits people put together!

Our motivated fellow Maltese-friends spend a whole year designing, building and painting the most beautiful and wildly coloured floats. They are constantly in competition with themselves, and always aim to create something bigger and better to deliver for the next year. The celebrations never disappoint! And of course, whilst they are hard at work, we are busy planning our outfits. We’ve all seen our fair share of eyebrow-raising costumes, but let’s not forget the traditional ones, which represent losing our individuality for a couple of days, and experiencing social unity throughout the island!

Details regarding the different festivities will be released shortly, so keep an eye out on the What’s On Malta website! Whether you love the parade, want to fill up on food and drink, or prefer a super wild street party in Nadur, Gozo, Carnival is sure to satisfy everyone! Here at The Malta Experience, we will be open as usual and will be offering face painting to all children who visit us!

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