Streets and squares, Valletta
Old Bakery Street has a much more authentic, old time feel than the more popular Republic Street or Merchant's street. There aren't many shops here, but plenty of stuff to admire; such as balconies, churches, old buildings, statues etc.
The Fortress City, Citta' Umilissima, "a city built by gentlemen for gentlemen". Valletta has many titles, all recalling its rich historical past. It is the "modern" city built by the Knights of St John; a masterpiece of the baroque; a European Art City; and a World Heritage City.
Even if it is the capital of Malta, Valletta has a timeless air with its narrow streets, pitortesque houses and churches and palaces.
Explore the other streets of Valletta too. Merchant Street was the street where the city's people carried out their daily errands. A flea market is held here every morning - similar to the one held on Sundays by the bus terminal. Many fine buildings here too - such as this one Palazzo Parisio, where Napeloen lived for seven days in June 1798 . Today it houses the ministry of foreign affairs
The centre of Valletta main street is Republic Square with its surrounding cafes and bars and grand buildings such as the National Library - a grand venetian style late 18th century building. Amongst its collections are all archived material covering the history of the Knights from 1113 - 1798.
After looking around the Co-Cathedral we wandered back to Freedom Square. We walked down Republic Street, which on any day other than Sunday would be a bustling shopping street, but today was quiet and almost deserted. It's a nice thoroughfare, wide and lined with nice looking shops.
The Royal Opera House was once a magnificently over-exuberent neoclassical structure. It was destroyed by bombing in WWII and has never been rebuilt. Nor has the site been totally cleared - the foundations and remains of support pillars are left there looking like some excavated ruin from the Roman era. There have always been plans to rebuild in some way, but these have never materialised.
The area is surrounded by some other quite lovely buildings, but by this time of the afternoon I was a bit tired and jaded and I didn't really take note of what they all were.
This lovely arcade is on Old Treasury Street - cafe's spill out onto the street under the arch, and the Great Siege Of Malta "experience" is entered from here too. On a hot day this is one of the most shaded spots you can find for a refreshing & relaxing drink.
This is the square beside the Anglican Cathedral, Archbishop's Palace and Auberge D'Aragon. The statue in the square is of Dun Mikiel Xerri, a Maltese patriot executed by the French in 1799. Behind this, in the picture, is the Auberge D'Aragon, now used by the Ministry Of Finance.
This is a lovely square, surrounded as it is by architectural beauties on every side.
Looking down from above Victoria Gate is St Barbara's Bastion. This is apparently one of Valletta's swankiest residential streets with some lovely apartments, having spectacular views over the harbour. It certainly looked nice, and probably out of my price bracket.
Leaving the Upper Barakka Gardens we headed down St Ursula Street, a "typical" Valletta street, with steep steps heading downhill and then back up the other side.
On the right towards the bottom of here is The British Hotel, which has magnificent views (from the other side) of the Grand Harbour. It has quite a good reputation and other VT tipsters have stayed there.
Running almost right through the centre for the entire length of Valletta (from South West to North East) is Strait Street. This has been the most "infamous" street in Valletta almost for as long as it has existed. It was once the place where the knights came to duel and later became the red light district. It still looks rather more squalid then the other streets of Valletta - in fact it is a street that looks very much like a "back street", despite its great length. It is filled with very dubious looking bars, cafes etc.
The northern corner of Valletta is know as the Manderaggio district (on our map it was the only district that was actually named). It is described as being "an old, semi-abandoned slum district", and yet for all that it contains the Auberge D'Angleterre Et Bavarie, The Auberge D'Aragon, St. Paul's Anglican Cathedral, Our Lady Of Mount Carmel ("The Carmelite Church"), Independance Square, The Archbishop's Palace and The Manoel Theatre. Not bad for a slum district! And the "slum" buildings have their own character anyway.
Don't miss this area! (I won't let you).
OK, so we arrived by ferry and our walk started at the Main Gate (by the Bus Station). We got here by walking via some steep, steep steps and through Hastings Gardens, from where you get a fine view out over the Valletta suburbs & Floriana.
Take a carriage ride round Valletta. This is a special service to tourists.
You'll get the idea of the town and, you know, it is so funny to see a horse and a car pass in the narrow street!
Freedom square has been designed by world-renowned architecht Renzi Piano. The George Cross award was celebrated when we were in Valletta and great festivities took place in and around the square.