The capital was named after its founder, the French Grand Master, Jean de la Valette, who led the defence of the Islands during the Great Siege of 1565.
Valletta is a masterpiece of baroque architecture and its impressive fortifications rank among the world's greatest examples of military engineering. It commands a strategic position on Mount Sceberras, a steep peninsula overlooking Grand Harbour and Marsamxett Harbour. It was built on a grid system resembling the Renaissance towns of Europe. Nearly all the present architecture recalls the baroque style though there are some fine examples of neo-gothic.
It is a UNESCO World Heritage city and a European Art City. Valletta is also Malta's capital city and the cultural, administrative and commercial heart of the Islands. Within its grid of narrow streets, are palaces, museums and churches housing some of Europe's finest artistic, architectural and cultural riches. The most prestigious monument is the Co-Cathedral of St John, the monastic church of the Knights of St John.
Our recommendations for the best sites in and around Valetta:
- The Grand Master's Palace
- Archaeology Museum
- Fine Arts Museum
- War Museum and the informative audio-visual attractions retelling key episodes in the capital and Islands' history