Tag Archives: malta

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.

Palace_Armoury__Valletta_35

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

Share Button

Holy Week and Easter in Malta

Easter is a festive, religious and emotional time for both locals and tourists. It is thus no surprise that one find tourists wondering around the towns and villages during the various processions and pageants that take place during the weeks preceding Easter. They try to capture everything that’s happening around them on cameras.

Within the churches, celebrations become truly alive with colours, ornaments, flowers and a great number of devotees. One of the processions that is a crowd puller is the ‘Addolorata, mainly because people identify their own miseries, pain and suffering with those of Holy Mary’s. On Maundy Thursday several local devotees visit the ‘seven churches’ where they kneel, reflect and pray beside the tomb of Christ.

Good_Friday_Exhibition_2

Good Friday gives a sombre outlook where churches are deprived from the traditional ornamental style for a single day. The red colour, resembling the Blood of Christ, is splashed all over the churches. On Good Friday Malta is turned into Roman and Jewish pageantry. In the inner core of villages one comes across Pontius Pilate, Barabbas and other biblical characters during the renowned processions. People do some odd penitence such as carrying heavy weights or walking barefoot! Some even cover up their faces as they pay the price for a special grace they received.

Good_Friday_Procession_14

The atmosphere changes completely the following day in the evening. Celebrations start in pitch darkness. They are then illuminated by flickering candle lights. Finally there is an ‘explosion’ of light, where churches are suddenly illuminated with candles, chandeliers, bulbs and floodlights. Bells toll happily as they break the night’s silence in order to announce Christ’s resurrection, exactly when the singing of the ‘Glorja’ commences.

During these festivities there are some very special and unique Maltese delicacies. The ‘kwarezimal’ and the ‘figolli’ top the list. There are other food items such as the Lent’s ftajjar; Karamelli and hot cross buns. Although in Lent the traditional Maltese fast, yet the street vendors are as busy as bees in keeping up with the heavy demand!

Spend your Easter Holidays in Malta. Contact Our Concierge Desk during your stay and they will advise you on Where to Go and What to Do in Malta during your holidays.

Photo Credits: Viewing Malta & Mario Galea

Share Button

What makes Malta unique to locals?

It is often the tourists who are asked what makes Malta unique for them. Have you ever wondered what would locals consider special about their own country?

The size and connection: In Malta wherever one goes and whoever they meet, they will always find out that they are somehow connected either through family, friends, workmates etc. Malta is also unique due to it’s short distances, great weather, beautiful sea and the fact that no one is more than 30 minutes away. Wherever on the island, you are always only a maximum of 20 minutes away from the beautiful sea and coast. Due to the island’s size, travelling abroad is very easy – the Malta International Airport is easily accessible from all around the island, so travelling for even a short break is a worthwhile.

Malta boasts a diverse multi-faceted history, combined with a geographical location, excellent weather and relatively a safe destination. The megalithic structures are claimed of being the oldest free standing edifices in the world, predating Stonehenge.

St. John's Co Cathedral

St. John’s Co Cathedral, Valletta

Other unique Maltese characteristics include:

  • Malta is also renowned for its old character houses with the colourful Maltese balconies and local traditional food.
  • Malta’s historic bastions which give beautiful scenes to Malta’s landscapes.
  • A church on every street corner with people actually still going to church in great numbers.
  • No matter how much Maltese complain about the way they do things, they are truly good at heart.
  • Maltese also consider themselves to be hardworking, generous and compassionate.
  • As in other countries in the South of Europe, the Maltese are also known for living with their parents well into their twenties and thirties.

If you would like to know more about Malta’s history and culture and would like to visit some interesting places during your holidays in Malta feel free to check out our self-guided Malta tours. Kindly also contact our chauffeur driven service and they will be able to assist you.

Photo courtesy of Viewing Malta

Share Button