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Tunisie

Malta 

Arriving in the beautiful, natural harbor of Valletta, the capital of Malta, is like entering a sepia-colored photograph.

We immediately understood why this city with its unique architecture is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Throughout the city, with its omnipresent ramparts, we could still feel the presence of the Knights of Malta who founded the city in the 16th century. Its buildings, palaces, churches, fountains, all made of honey-colored stones, contribute to creating an impressive atmosphere of unity and harmony.

Of course, we walked through Valletta to better soak up the atmosphere and follow in the footsteps of the Knights, who are still visible today.

Where old meets modern

Naturally, we began our visit through the official gateway to the city that extends through the Belvedere Gardens, originally the private gardens of the Knights. With their magnificent fountain, these gardens are well integrated with the ancient fortifications, as well as the new official entrance, which is monumental and very modern, on Republic Street, designed by the famous Italian architect Renzo Piano.

He also designed a modern building next door, which is bordered by two monumental staircases that house the new parliament. The spectacular ensemble is made of the same blond-coloured stone, globigerine, which has been used for centuries to build churches and palaces and comes from quarries on the island. This hard stone has the unique characteristic of darkening in the sun and the rain and provides a nice unity to the construction, while harmonizing perfectly with the older buildings.

Some must-see places

The Palace of the Great Masters, built in the late 1500s, was, as its name suggests, the official residence of the great masters and now houses the Chamber of Deputies and the office of the President of the Republic of Malta. Its baroque rooms and its inner courtyard are worth interest.

The Sacred Infirmary, which was one of the most important hospitals in Europe in the 16th century. Its rooms have huge arches that seem endless. They welcomed a few hundred patients, exclusively men… women were not admitted. We can almost imagine the scene. The Infirmary is now hosting especially large cultural events this year, 2018, while Malta is the European Capital of Culture.

One cannot visit all the churches - there are 359 on the archipelago - but some stops are important. Moreover, the amount of churches is so numerous that some of them welcome Muslims, even without having been transformed into mosques.

Mdina, the noble city

Its history goes back more than 4,000 years. This city is nicknamed the "city of silence" or the Citta Notabile: the noble city, because it sheltered the noble families of Malta. Their impressive palaces follow narrow streets and flowery alleys where medieval and baroque architecture made from the blond stones blend harmoniously together.

Our visit was completed by stops on certain archaeological sites including the Roman Villa, which was accidentally discovered in 1881, the cave of Saint-Paul, and the catacombs.

It is a place to see over and over again!

Christiane Théberge


 

Fountain at the Belvedere Gardens

Parliement building monumental staircase

A street in Mdina

The Sacred Infirmary 

 

 

 

   

 

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