1 June 1999


The city of Valletta was built by the Knights of St. John as the capitol city of Malta, replacing Mdina, the Arab capitol of Malta. Valletta is heavily fortified, and the Knights of St. John were able to hold Valletta and Malta until they were handed over to Napoleon in 1798. After Napoleon failed to honor the promises he made in order to take Valletta, the British were called in to force Napoleon out. As a result, the British remained in control in one way or another until 1979, leaving behind one of the two national languages (English and Maltese) and the unfortunate habit of driving on the wrong side of the road.

Above are some of the fortifications and sights in Valletta. The moat shown was never filled with water, and the caves in the sides of it were used as bomb shelters during World War II.

When we first entered Valletta, we found lots of shops and plenty of people. Our tour began with several of the older buildings. We then went on to St. John's Co-Cathedral. From there we went to the Grand Masters' Palace, but it was closed to the public because parliament was in session. We then went to the archeological museum, where we learned about the history of Malta, from neolithic people to more modern artifacts. This was the end of our guided tour, but we had the option to spend the afternoon in the city on our own. Nobody in the group went back to the hotel.

After lunch, we went back to the Grand Masters' Palace, which was now open. After that we wandered through many of the city's shops for the rest of the afternoon, before going back to St. Julian's Bay.

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