Valletta's large city gates have changed much over the years. The current Gate, the fourth to be built was erected in 1964 and stand as triumphal arches giving entrance to the City from what is termed the Bus Station (a large area dominated by a waterfall and were all the bus's from the island end up.
Don't expect a huge expanse of gardens.
Malta is a small island, and this is a small garden.
But it is a welcome bit of greenery in a harsh summer climate, with a fountain and palm trees, some shrubs and flowers. There are statues, and memorials, and benches, and a superb view over the harbour towards the Three Cities.
It is also very poular with Vallettans on their evening strolls. So, when the air is a bit cooler and the light is failing, you will find it full of couple,and elcerly friends, and families, and children running around. which is nice, Ithink.
There's a small kiosk selling coffee, drinks, snacks, ice-cream etc.
Not all of them, unles you really want to......but do walk at least some.
Because apart from being a truly stunning achievement (remember when they were built......in the mid-late 1500s) they do give the most fantastic views across the waters either side of the city.
For those of you with an interest in wars and battles, there are also many remnants of gun emplacements etc from the Second World War. Dont' expect everything to be signed, or informatuion boards to be available.............Valletta has not got there yet (hopefully it will, eventually). So get a good guidebook and/or map so that you have at least some idea of what you are looking at.
I found that the walls to the north (facing Sliema) were generally less visited, for some reason.
The Lower Barakka Gardens are a great place to walk around and to chill out in. It offers a magnificent view of the Grand Harbour and the Breakwater. There are two monuments, one dedicated to Alexander Ball and another in remembrance of the Great Siege of Malta.
Hastings Garden is a nice place to stop and take some time to look at your map and guide books, it’s lofty position on top of the wall offers a good view of the Fortifications and how they double back on themselves offering a 180 degree firing range. The Tomb in the middle of the garden is that of Lord Hastings, a former British governor who died at sea in 1827.
The two cavaliers of St. James and St. John were designed to defend Valletta against attacks from land. The original function was to provide a raised platform on which to place landward facing guns. Most of the internal space was filled with compressed earth, surrounding a series of chambers and a ramp through which cannons were rolled onto the roof. During the British times St. James's was used as an officers mess, a water store and finally a food store. Today one can find the Centre of Creativity here that holds exhibitions, shows and converts as well as children's activities.
The City Gate was originally known as the Gate of St. George, this was the main entrance through the bastions into the city. It later became knnown as Porta Reale and then Kings Gate. The present somewhat dull City Gate was erected to provide a wider passage in 1964.
The colonnaded public garden is situated on top of St. Peter and Paul's demi-bastion, was once a covered play area for the boisterous Italian knights. A plot to overthrow Grand Master Ximenes, known as the priests revolt was hatched in the adjacent building in 1775, the roof was removed after the plot had been rumbled.
A look at a map of Valletta reveals that the city is virtually totally surrounded by its ancient walls and embankments. At its most southerly point the dry moat structures, "the Great Ditch" and several bastions continue to "defend" the city. Like Mdina and other medieval cities, crossing of a bridge and entering through a main gate was the one and only way to enter cities built as fortresses.
Valletta's City Gate today is actually the 4th reincarnation of the historical main entrance to the ." Previous versions of the gate have been architecturally more elaborate and considerably more popular and a move has been afoot to replace the City Gate which was built in 1964. The gate was officially unveiled for the Independence Celebration and was originally conceived as part of a project which would have also seen the Royal Opera House rebuilt after its destruction during World War II.
The 1964 gate's Italian Modern design is rather unremarkable but symmetrical with a large entrance flanked by two smaller entrances. The gate is rather unadorned except for two large medallions above the two smaller entrances. To me what is most memorable about the gate is the ocre yellow color of the sandstone and the excitement and anticipation I felt when entering the marvelous UNESCO World Heritage Site known as Valletta!
The Upper Barracca Gardens are the highest point on the 16th century bastion walls that the Knights of the Order of St. John built,
The views of the Grand Harbour are outstanding from here
The picture shows the view overlooking the Grand Harbour
Please visit my travelogue of these gardens
The Victory Gate dates from 1884, and replaced a small gate. From the inside it doesn't look any special, but from the outside it's really nice decorated. You'll see the emblem of Malta and Valletta on it, and the crown of Great Britain. There's another big gate nearby.
There are two nice little gardens in Valletta where you can relax a bit.
The Upper Barracca Garden is situated on the St Pauls Bastion. It was used for exercises by the knights in the 17th century. From here, you have a nice view on the harbour.
The Lower Barracca Garden is nice as well and seems to be less visited, you also get a good view on Vittoriosa and the St Angelo fort from there.
Built by the Grand Priory in 1661, a beautiful garden overlooking the Grand Harbour. The balcony was erected in 1900 tough the present garden was heavily renovated in the 1990's. The Noonday gun is fired daily at the Saluting Battery just below the balcony. Numerous monuments are displayed in this garden. Please click my Valletta - Upper Barrakka Travelogue for description of the monuments. Click also this pic to see more photos.
A smaller version of the Upper Barrakka. Called so because it is situated on lower gorund, further in the city. It provides a different view of the Grand harbour. The only monument found in theis garden, is dedicated to Sir Alexander Ball, the First British Governor of Malta. You can also enjoy a good view of the Siege Bell Memorial which is exactly opposited the garden. Click on pic to see more photos.
Hastings garden is situated at the left of the Main City Gate. From here you can appreciate Marsamxett Harbour, Manoel Island and it's Fort, and the Valetta Bus Terminus. The Neo-Classical monument at the centre of the garden indicates the last resting place of Marquis of Hastings, one of the early British Governors of Malta. Please click on pic to see more photos.