Tag Archives: knights of st john

Explore Valletta: The Palace Armoury

Palace_Armoury__Valletta_9The Palace Armoury in Valletta is one of the world’s largest collections of arms and armour that is still housed in its original building. The Knights of St John were a unique brotherhood of resolute warrior monks. From Malta, their island stronghold, these combatant aristocrats from the noblest houses of Europe, carried out their relentless crusade against the Ottoman Turks in defence of the Catholic faith.

The Palace Armoury is certainly one of the most visible and tangible symbols of the past glories of the Sovereign Hospitaller Military Order of Malta. Grand Master Alof de Wignacourt transferred the Order’s arsenal to the Magisterial Palace in 1604 where it was the pride of the Order. Apart from being lavishly adorned with elaborate trophies of arms, it held enough arms and armour to equip thousands of soldiers. It was housed in the magnificent hall at the rear of the building, right above its present location.

At present, it is displayed inside two halls that were originally the stables of the palace. Following the forced departure of the Order of St. John from Malta, the armoury somehow lost much of its original grandeur. However, it was restored and was officially opened as Malta’s first public museum in 1860. Although only a fraction of its original splendour remains, the Armoury still contains abundant material of Italian, German, French and Spanish origin from principal production centres. Also displayed is an exotic selection of Islamic and Ottoman arms and armour. Apart from the massed arms of the common soldiers in the collection, the enriched personal armours of the nobility still manage to make a statement. Various areas of the Palace State Rooms and Armoury are currently undergoing restoration. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

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Reasons to Visit:
1. Unique display of suits of armour owned by Grand Masters Alof de Wignacourt and Jean de La Valette.
2. Arms and armour used by the Knights of St. John between 1530 -1798 and by the Ottoman Empire during the Great Siege of 1565.
3. A varied selection of firearms used for both military and sporting purposes.
4. A chance to see a selection of artillery pieces originally used for battle on the fortifications.

Valletta will have the honour of holding the esteemed title of European Capital of Culture in 2018. If you plan to visit Malta be sure to visit interesting places around the capital, Valletta. Contact the Concierge Desk at this luxury 5 star hotel on the doorstep of Valletta for some great tips on places worth visiting during your next holiday to Malta.

Photo credit: Aaron Briffa & Viewing Malta

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Things to do in Malta: Prehistoric temples in Malta

 Malta History
 
 
The Mediterranean island of Malta figures in the historical record of Europe due to its association with the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem. However this small island, of 243 square kilometres, has a far greater importance in European prehistory due to its extraordinary collection of megalithic temples.
  
Malta Archeology
According to the studies of orthodox archaeologists, the remains of bones, fragments of pottery, and marks of fire indicate that human beings have lived on Malta since at least 5200 BC. Evidence suggests, these early people lived in caves, but later built huts and villages. Approximately 1600 years after their arrival in Malta, these people began the formation of stupendous megalithic temples. The ruins now remaining are the bare skeletons of once magnificent structures, mostly roofed over, paved, furnished with doors and curtains, and beautifully decorated with sculptures and paintings.
 
On the Islands of Malta and Gozo, one may find around 23 temples in various states of preservation although the remains of 50 temples have been found. No particular pattern emerges from the distribution of these temples and this may be explained by the probability that numerous temples were destroyed in antiquity and that others remain to be discovered.
 
History of Malta
Amongst these 23 temples is the Hypogeum which is situated in Paola, and was discovered surprisingly by workmen digging at about 3.5 m under the road surface. The word Hypogeum comes from the Greek word “Ipogaina”, which means, “an underground construction sunk into the solid rock.” It is a UNESCO World Heritage site like the other temples in Malta. This underground temple is made up from a set of rooms and caves dug by Copper Age people, most probably between the years 4100 B.C. and 2500 B.C. At the beginning of its existence, the Hypogeum was used as a temple or sanctuary as well as a burial place. This is known due to its architectural resemblance to the freestanding Megalithic Temples outside. However the greatest evidence present is the number of statuettes of the Fat Lady, their goddess of Fertility. A big statue of a “sleeping Lady” was also found in this temple. The discoveries of some 7,000 human bones were also found in the temple and many dead people were found buried with their personal belongings.
 
The megalithic temple of Hagar Qim is another historical wonder situated in the West of Malta, near the village of Qrendi and was built between 3600 B.C. and 3000 B.C. The name Hagar Qim means “free-standing boulders” and was first explored in 1839. Hagar Qim was the third temple to be built in the Maltese Islands and its layout is very similar in shape to the other temples. The original alters previously found in the temple can now be found in the Museum of Archaeology.
 
Though of more recent origin than the great megalithic temples, the Romanesque basilica of Ta’ Pinu in Gozo is of importance as a pilgrimage site. Legends relate that in 1883, a local woman named Carmel Grima heard a voice telling her to pray by a 16th century chapel. A friend, Francesco Portelli, confirmed that he had also heard the voice and thus they prayed together for Francesco’s bedridden mother and she soon experienced a miraculous recovery. More miraculous healings were thereafter reported and from thanksgiving offerings the present sanctuary was built in the 1920’s.The sanctuary incorporates the early chapel, whose original caretaker, Pinu Gauci, lent his name to the site. The Ta’ Pinu Shrine is visited for its healing qualities and is also sacred to sailors. Many locals as well as foreigners visit the site to offer thanksgiving and pay for healings.
 
If you enjoy reading about Malta and its interesting history, contact the chauffeur driven service at one of the top Malta hotels. With a list of Malta Tours and Excursions they will surely help you enjoy unique and memorable Malta holidays.
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