Malta is small island country that lies 50 miles south of Sicily and just over 200 miles north of Libya in the Meditteranean Sea. Over the years it’s been conquered by everyone from the Romans to the Greeks, Arabs, Sicilians and of course the British. It was a British colony from 1815 to 1964 when they were given their independence; in 1974 the became a republic and the queen was out as head of state.
We arrived early in the morning and it was pouring rain; this was the view from the balcony once the rain stopped and the sun came out. We were docked in the Grand Harbour; from our cabin on the starboard side of the ship we had a lovely view of the “Three Cities” – Cospicua, Senglea and Vittoriosa
Fort St. Angelo in Vittoriosa is on the left, Senglea on the right (but to the left of the ship) and Cospicua is between them at the head of the harbour.
Originally we had planned to do a tour out of the city in the morning and then a photo tour in the afternoon. We were staying overnight in Valetta, so we had two full days there. When we heard the weather forecast we changed things around a little and rescheduled the road trip to the next day. So glad we did that!
The next photo was taken from the top of the ship; we were so close to the walled city!
The fortified walls of Valetta were built from 1566 to 1570 after the Great Siege of Malta. The elevator was added much later…
The original lift operated from 1905 to 1973; a quick and easy way from the waterfront up to the Upper Barrakka Gardens. In 2012 the “new” lift (The Upper Barrakka Lift) opened with 2 large elevators and a staircase in between.
The old city of Valetta has some very interesting doors and old signs…
beautiful arched walkways…
and interesting doors and doorknockers…
The Siege Bell War Memorial sits on the Grand Harbour just opposite the Lower Barrakka Gardens. This bell is a memorial to the over 7,000 people who lost their lives in the WWII siege of Malta (1940-1943).
The colours, signs and distinctive Maltese Balconies of Valetta are eye-catching.
And of course, there are stairs, lots of stairs…
Even the industrial buildings have colourful doors…
After wandering the old city of Valetta we took the ferry across the harbour to the 3 Cities; particularly Vittoriosa. This is St. Lawrence’s Church sitting behind the Freedom Monument.
Malta is a very religious country; it’s predominantly Catholic and one of the most Catholic countries in the world. There are shrines to Mary everywhere, this one was built into the side of a building.
The beautiful back streets of Vittoriosa (also know as Birgu)
This elaborate door knocker has a lot going on – a gargoyle, cherubs, a ram???
Some properties are incredibly well maintained, while others are falling into disrepair. Restoration is incredibly expensive and many of the young have left the small island nation for a better life elsewhere in the European Union. Many homes and buildings are simply abandoned and the population is aging.
The Vittoriosa Harbour as the sun begins to set
The ship was almost dwarfed by the size of Valetta’s walls…
The old city of Valetta from the Grand Harbour
Looking up the stairwell between the 2 elevators at the Upper Barrakka Lift while trying to not fall over
We took the lift (not the stairs) up to the Upper Barrakka Gardens to watch as the sun set
Back on board, it was time for some night shots. This is the 3 Cities at night from the balcony.
The Upper Barrakka Lift and the old city of Valetta lit up