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Malta Travel & Holiday Tips
 
 
 

Valletta

The Fortress City, Citta' Umilissima, "a city built by gentlemen for gentlemen". Valletta has many titles, all recalling its rich historical past. It is the "modern" city built by the Knights of St John; a masterpiece of the baroque; a European Art City; and a World Heritage City. But these are just some of its faces and fortunes.

Valletta is also Malta's capital city: a living, working city, the administrative and commercial heart of the Islands. Nowhere in Malta is the life of the Islands reflected more than here. The city is busy by day, yet retains a timeless atmosphere. The grid of narrow streets house some of Europe's finest art works, churches and palaces.

Valletta hosts a vast cultural programme. Street events are staged against the city's magnificent baroque architecture and floodlit bastions. There is theatre and music and all manner of things to see and join in, from avant garde art to traditional church festas. The city is a delight to shop in: narrow side streets are full of tiny shops selling antiques, maps, books, prints and jewellery. For top quality fashion, music and much more try Valletta's main streets - Republic Street and Merchants Street.

Walking around Valletta, you'll come across an intriguing historical site around every corner: votive statues, niches, fountains and coats of arms high up on parapets. And when you need to stop and take it all in, the city yields up squares, courtyards, gardens and any number of cafés, right on cue.

Picturesque Villages

Worlds apart from the main resorts and the capital Valletta, are the Islands' villages. They are the epitomé of Mediterranean life. The soul of the Islands' past. Yet with their lively festas and unique everyday life they are very much part of the Islands' culture today.

Even the smallest has its own baroque wonder, the parish church. And to locals, each village has its unique character. After visiting a few, you'll soon pick up on the differences.

Some are known for their festas and traditions, others are national gems as they house archaeological or architectural treasures. Then there are the seaside villages, where the rhythm of life is dictated by fishing. While life in inland villages is determined by the harvesting of the various fruits and vegetables grown nearby.
The oddity about the Islands' villages is their size. A village is not defined by the number of residents or streets. The description really dates back to a time when village boundaries were defined by parishes. Some of the larger ones, like Zebbug in central Malta are still referred to as villages.

Malta also has its 'Three Villages', rather like its Three Cities of Vittoriosa, Cospicua and Senglea. The Three Villages are Attard, Balzan and Lija in central Malta. During the Golden Age of Malta after the Great Siege, many noble families built houses here, and identified the villages with a semi-urban sophistication.

While the size of Malta's villages may vary, those in Gozo are usually small and life here is mostly centred on the activities of the parish and community.


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