It is not difficult to imagine what Valletta must have looked like some 450 years ago when it was under siege by the Ottoman Empire.
The Great Siege of Malta, as it was to be called in the history books, lasted almost 4 months, and ended in victory for the Christian forces under the leadership of the Knights Hospitallers. What makes this siege so remarkable is not its length or the fact that its failure had lasting impact on the European history.
The Great Siege of Malta
Instead, it’s the fact that the besieged people of Malta were grossly outnumbered. It is a testament to the strength of the fortifications of the city of Valletta that an army of no more than 8,500 men, women and indeed children could ward off the 48,000 Ottoman troops.
So when you enter the city like us through the port you will not be surprised to see how heavily fortified the city really is. From Fort St. Elmo to the city walls to Fort St. Angelo to the cannons taking aim at some point in the harbour, this city knows how to defend itself from outside forces.
It is quite clear that this is a city that has seen many changes, conflicts and clashes. Walk the city streets and witness the scars everywhere. Valletta is indeed a fascinating place, full of history.
Multicultural is not just a word in this city
But it’s not just the history of war and peace that I find so truly fascinating about Valletta. It is also the mix of cultures that is evident everywhere.
Native Maltese, Italian, Arab, French and British elements can be found everywhere. In the bilingual street signs, the red telephone booths, the saint statues on display, in the cuisine. It is an exciting cultural composite that makes the city appear oddly familiar yet foreign at the same time.
For many visitors to Malta, Valletta is just another European capital, just an entry port to get to Maltas dreamy beach resorts. Yet, there is so much more to see and do in Valletta.
Enjoy my collection of travel photos of Valletta. I hope you will find inspiring for your own trip to this fascinating city.