Category Archives: Malta Attractions

Valletta – the European Capital of Culture 2018

Collaboration between V18 and the Grand Hotel Excelsior Malta

V1817th July 2013 Valletta, Malta – The Foundation for the Valletta 2018 project has just reached an agreement of collaboration with the Grand Hotel Excelsior Malta. This is the first of its collaborations with a number of entities from different sectors; with the aim of strengthening the Foundation’s operations.

Mr. Jason Micallef, the Chairman for the Foundation Valletta 2018, said that this agreement will assist the Foundation by strengthening its position and helping it achieve its goals leading to the year 2018. He emphasised that the Foundation needs to ensure that the V18 project will have full participation by all the major stakeholders and this includes the commercial sector together with the communities and the local residents. This agreement together with other agreements will lead to this ultimate aim.

V2018 Partnership Launch

Mr Norbert Grixti, the General Manager of the Grand Hotel Excelsior, also expressed his satisfaction on the achievement of this collaboration with the Foundation Valletta 2018. He pointed out that nowadays the tourism industry appreciates the added value Malta has to offer, especially due to our unique attractions like the capital city of Malta, Valletta. He elaborated on the fact that the works that are being carried out in Valletta will contribute towards an enhanced tourism product and a superior tourist experience for visitors in Malta.

About the Grand Hotel Excelsior Malta:

If you’re looking for an enjoyable Holiday in Malta, then stay in one of the top Luxury Malta Hotels which is on the doorstep of Valletta. For a relaxing break enjoy excellent facilities including indoor and outdoor pools, a private sandy beach, a luxurious spa and a fitness centre whilst also being close to museums, churches, restaurants, bars, and shops.

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Do you love Maltese History? The Story of Caravaggio in Malta

 

caravaggio

Chalk portrait of Caravaggio
by Ottavio Leoni , circa 1621

Michelangelo Merisi was born in the town of Caravaggio (about 30 kilometres from Milan) in 1571. Caravaggio was, in fact, the first great representative of the Baroque movement. He was the archetypal rebellious artist and led a turbulent life. His life, it is said, matched the high-drama of the chiaroscuro style that his paintings became famous for.

In 1606 whilst working in Rome, one of his many brawls resulted in Caravaggio killing a young man called Ranuccio Tomassoni. With a price on his head, Caravaggio fled and headed for Naples where he would be outside the Roman jurisdiction and under the protection of the Colonna family. After just a few months, despite a successful period in Naples where he was given a number of important church commissions, Caravaggio left for Malta, the headquarters of the Knights of the Order of St John of Jerusalem, arriving on the island in July 1607.

Portrait of Wignacourt

Portrait of Alof de Wignacourt, the Grand Master of the Knights of Malta. Caravaggio

Grand Master Alof de Wignacourt invested Caravaggio as a knight of magistral obedience so taken was he at having an artist of such calibre as official painter of the Order. It was during this time that Caravaggio was commissioned to paint ‘The Beheading of St John the Baptist’ and ‘St Jerome Writing’, both of which are on display in St John’s Co-Cathedral. This period of relative calm in his life was short lived, and by late August 1608, Caravaggio was arrested for causing trouble once again, this time badly wounding a high ranking Knight in another fight. Imprisoned at Fort St Angelo, disgraced and unable to paint, he used his inventive powers to plan his escape. Caravaggio’s incredible break-out took place in October 1608 and once again he was on the run. The Council, informed of his escape, immediately expelled him from the Order.

 

St._John's_Co_Cathedral

The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist (1608)
St. John’s Co-Cathedral

After a nine month stay in Sicily, during which time he was trying to secure a pardon from Pope Paul V, Caravaggio returned to Naples and the protection of the Colonna family. His style and technique as an artist was still evolving and he enjoyed a productive time in his second spell in Naples. An attempt was made on his life, and an incorrect account of his death was reported in Rome. Although Caravaggio survived the attempt, his face was left seriously disfigured.

In an attempt to build bridges, Caravaggio painted ‘Salome with the Head of John the Baptist’. He depicted his own head on the platter and sent the work to de Wignacourt as a plea for forgiveness.
In 1610, Caravaggio took a boat north to receive a pardon, thanks to powerful allies in Rome. What happened then is shrouded in mystery. The artist was reported as dead in a private newsletter (an avviso) dated 28th July. Three days later, another newsletter declared that the artist had died of fever. His body, however, was never found.

The Grand Hotel Excelsior is located outside Valletta, the capital city of Malta and offers superior Accommodation in Malta with great harbour views. So if you would like to experience some of the rich history of Malta during your holidays, contact the Concierge Team at one of the top Luxury Malta Hotels and they will help you enjoy a memorable Malta Experience. 
 

Photos courtesy of www.viewingmalta.com

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Where to Go in Malta – The Barrakka Lift in Valletta

History of Malta
Macartney, McElroy & Co. Ltd., an engineering company specializing in electric tramway systems, constructed the Upper Barrakka Gardens lift, which opened in September 1905.
Macartney, McElroy & Co. Ltd. also laid down tramlines in Malta in 1904. The tramlines linked the Three Cities and Rabat to Valletta, via Floriana, Hamrun, Birkirkara, Attard and Zebbug.
John Francis Macartney died on the 15th February 1913, aged 44 years. He had been the principal shareholder and managing director of Macartney, McElroy & Co. Ltd. This company designed and constructed the Malta Electric Tramway system in 1904, followed by the Barrakka Electric Lift. Upon his death, the management of the company passed to his son J.F. Macartney. Apart from Malta, the company ran tramways in more than twenty British cities, as well as North and South America and South Africa.
Opened to the public in September 1905, at a cost of £5,000, the Barrakka lift connected Lascaris Wharf (Old Customs House) with Upper Barrakka Gardens offering a shorter and quicker route.
The lift incorporated two cabins each capable of carrying 12 passengers. It rose through 75 tonnes of steelwork vertically 167feet 7inches, with the winding gear housed in a turret even higher at 197feet (60m), to a lateral bridge, extending some 23feet out from the bastion gardens.
Other than a shutdown from October 1917 to June 1919, due to unavailability of spares and coal to generate electricity, the lift would see daily use until 9pm on 2nd February 1973. However, following the
privatisation of the dockyard in 1958 along with the withdrawal of British servicemen in the 1960s, its main source of income, revenue, was insufficient to meet the wages of the six employees and the closure became inevitable.
Malta Attractions
Efforts by the Government to find a company to run yet another Maltese unique and historic transport system were unsuccessful and after lying idle for ten years the lift was dismantled in August 1983. In March 2009 the government submitted a planning application for the construction of the lift. The full development permit was granted in September 2010. The €2.5 million project, mostly funded by the EU, brings back a century-old link between Valletta and Grand Harbour.
The 58m high lift has two passenger cabins with a total capacity of 21 passengers and is able to carry up to 800 people per hour. Its concrete structure is covered with a honey-coloured aluminium mesh to blend in with the fortifications which have been restored.
In order to safeguard the newly-restored bastions, the lift is freestanding so as not to damage the fortifications.

For more information on Things to do in Malta during your holidays contact the dedicated team at one of the Luxury Malta Hotels and they will assist you in having enjoyable short breaks in Malta.

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