Valletta

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Valletta
Il-Belt Valletta
Humilissima Civitas Valletta
Città Umilissima
City and Local council
Il-Kunsill Lokali tal-Belt Valletta
Valletta collage 3.png
From up to down: Valletta Skyline, Lower Barrakka Gardens, Upper Barrakka Gardens, Valletta Waterfront
Flag of Valletta
Flag
Coat of arms of Valletta
Coat of arms
Nickname(s): Il-Belt
Motto: Città Umilissima
Location within Malta
Location within Malta
Coordinates: 35°53′52″N 14°30′45″E / 35.89778°N 14.51250°E / 35.89778; 14.51250
Country Malta
IslandMalta
RegionsMalta Xlokk
DistrictSouthern Harbour
Government
 • MayorAlexiei Dingli (PN)
Area
 • Total0.8 km2 (0.3 sq mi)
Elevation56 m (184 ft)
Population (March 2013)
 • Total6,675
 • Density8,300/km2 (22,000/sq mi)
DemonymBelti (m), Beltija (f), Beltin (pl)
Postal codeVLT
Dialing code356
Patron SaintsSaint Dominic, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Saint Paul, Saint Augustine
Feast Days3 August & 10 February
WebsiteOfficial website
 
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For other uses, see Valletta (disambiguation).
Valletta
Il-Belt Valletta
Humilissima Civitas Valletta
Città Umilissima
City and Local council
Il-Kunsill Lokali tal-Belt Valletta
Valletta collage 3.png
From up to down: Valletta Skyline, Lower Barrakka Gardens, Upper Barrakka Gardens, Valletta Waterfront
Flag of Valletta
Flag
Coat of arms of Valletta
Coat of arms
Nickname(s): Il-Belt
Motto: Città Umilissima
Location within Malta
Location within Malta
Coordinates: 35°53′52″N 14°30′45″E / 35.89778°N 14.51250°E / 35.89778; 14.51250
Country Malta
IslandMalta
RegionsMalta Xlokk
DistrictSouthern Harbour
Government
 • MayorAlexiei Dingli (PN)
Area
 • Total0.8 km2 (0.3 sq mi)
Elevation56 m (184 ft)
Population (March 2013)
 • Total6,675
 • Density8,300/km2 (22,000/sq mi)
DemonymBelti (m), Beltija (f), Beltin (pl)
Postal codeVLT
Dialing code356
Patron SaintsSaint Dominic, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Saint Paul, Saint Augustine
Feast Days3 August & 10 February
WebsiteOfficial website

Valletta is the capital of Malta, colloquially known as Il-Belt (English: The City) in Maltese. It is located in the central-eastern portion of the island of Malta, and the historical city has a population of 6,675.[1] Valletta is the second southernmost capital of the EU member states after Nicosia, Cyprus.

Valletta contains buildings from the 16th century onwards, built during the rule of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, also known as Knights Hospitaller. The city is essentially Baroque in character, with elements of Mannerist, Neo-Classical and Modern architecture in selected areas, though World War II left major scars on the city. The City of Valletta was officially recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1980.[2]

The official name given by the Order of Saint John was Humilissima Civitas Valletta—The Most Humble City of Valletta, or Città Umilissima in Italian. The bastions, curtains and ravelins along with the beauty of its Baroque palaces, gardens and churches, led the ruling houses of Europe to give the city its nickname SuperbissimaMost Proud.

Etymology[edit]

The city was named after Jean Parisot de Valette, who succeeded in defending the island from an Ottoman invasion in 1565.

History[edit]

The city is on the island of Malta so it shares its early history with the island. Immediately after the end of the Siege of Malta in 1565, the Order decided to found a new city on the Xiberras peninsula to fortify the Order's position in Malta and bind the Knights to the island. The foundation stone of Valletta was laid by the Grandmaster of the Order, Jean Parisot de Valette on 28 March 1566. De Valette placed the first stone in Our Lady of Victories Church.

In his book Dell’Istoria della Sacra Religione et Illustrissima Militia di San Giovanni Gierosolimitano (English: The History of the Sacred Religion and Illustrious Militia of St John of Jerusalem), written between 1594 and 1602, Giacomo Bosio writes that when the cornerstone of Valletta was placed, a group of Maltese elders said: "Iegi zimen en fel wardia col sceber raba iesue uquie" (Which in modern Maltese reads, "Jiġi żmien li fil-Wardija [l-Għolja Sciberras] kull xiber raba’ jiswa uqija", and in English, "There will come a time when every piece of land on Sciberras Hill will be worth its weight in gold").[3]

Valletta 3D

Grand Master de Valette died on 21 August 1568 at age 74 and never saw the completion of his city. Originally interred in the church of Our Lady of the Victories, his remains now rest in St. John's Co-Cathedral among the tombs of other Grand Masters of the Knights of Malta. Francesco Laparelli was the city's principal designer and his plan departed from medieval Maltese architecture, which exhibited irregular winding streets and alleys. He designed the new city on a rectangular grid, and without any collacchio (an area restricted for important buildings). The streets were designed to be wide and straight, beginning centrally from the City Gate and ending at Fort Saint Elmo overlooking the Mediterranean; certain bastions were built 153 feet (47 m) tall. The Maltese architect Gerolamo Cassar was responsible for a number of the buildings. After the Knights' departure and the brief French occupation, building projects in Valletta resumed under British rule. These projects included widening gates, demolishing and rebuilding structures, widening newer houses over the years, and installing civic projects. Nazi and Fascist air raids throughout World War II caused much destruction. The Royal Opera House, constructed at the city entrance in the 19th century, was one of the buildings lost to the raids. In 1980, the 24th Chess Olympiad took place in Valletta.[4]

Satellite view of Valletta

Government[edit]

Alexiei Dingli has been the Mayor of Valletta since 2008. He was elected on the Nationalist Party (PN) ticket, an affiliate of the European People's Party, which holds the majority of the Council. Dingli has been reconfirmed mayor of Valletta following the Local Council election held in March 2013 whereas Christian Micallef was elected as deputy mayor for the first time.

Geography[edit]

The Valletta peninsula has two natural harbours, Marsamxett and the Grand Harbour. The Grand Harbour is Malta's major port, with unloading quays at Marsa. A cruise-liner terminal is located along the old seawall of the Valletta Waterfront that Grandmaster Manuel Pinto de Fonseca built.

Climate[edit]

Valletta features a Mediterranean climate with warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters. Valletta experiences a lack of precipitation during the summer months and heavier precipitation during the winter months. Winter temperatures are moderated by the city’s proximity to the sea. As a result, Valletta enjoys mild winters. Average high temperatures range from around 15 °C (59 °F) in January to about 30 °C (86 °F) in August, while average low temperatures range from around 10 °C (50 °F) in January to 22 °C (72 °F) in August. The Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is "Csa" (Mediterranean Climate).[5]

Climate data for Valletta
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °C (°F)24.5
(76.1)
23.7
(74.7)
25.6
(78.1)
30.2
(86.4)
33.8
(92.8)
38.9
(102)
41.9
(107.4)
43.1
(109.6)
35.8
(96.4)
30.0
(86)
26.2
(79.2)
24.3
(75.7)
43.1
(109.6)
Average high °C (°F)15
(59)
15
(59)
16
(61)
18
(64)
22
(72)
26
(79)
30
(86)
30
(86)
27
(81)
23
(73)
19
(66)
16
(61)
21
(70)
Daily mean °C (°F)12
(54)
12
(54)
13
(55)
15
(59)
18
(64)
22
(72)
26
(79)
26
(79)
24
(75)
21
(70)
16
(61)
13
(55)
18
(64)
Average low °C (°F)9
(48)
9
(48)
10
(50)
12
(54)
15
(59)
18
(64)
21
(70)
22
(72)
20
(68)
17
(63)
13
(55)
11
(52)
15
(59)
Record low °C (°F)1
(34)
1
(34)
3
(37)
9
(48)
11
(52)
14
(57)
17
(63)
17
(63)
15
(59)
10
(50)
7
(45)
3
(37)
1
(34)
Precipitation cm (inches)8.9
(3.5)
5.6
(2.2)
4.7
(1.85)
2.8
(1.1)
1.3
(0.51)
0.3
(0.12)
0.2
(0.08)
0.1
(0.04)
3.1
(1.22)
7.9
(3.11)
9.2
(3.62)
10.3
(4.06)
54.4
(21.42)
Mean monthly sunshine hours155.0169.5217.0270.0310.0330.0372.0341.0270.0217.0180.0155.02,986.5
Source: Weatherbase,[6] BBC Weather[7](sunshine only)

Cityscape[edit]

UNESCO World Heritage Site
City of Valletta
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List
Ostansicht Vallettas.jpg
TypeCultural
Criteriai, vi
Reference131
UNESCO regionEurope and North America
Inscription history
Inscription1980 (4th Session)
The relatively austere interior of St. Barbara Church
Auberge de Castille, the Office of the Prime Minister
Casa Rocca Piccola's dining room
The 3,000 year old "Sleeping Lady" of Hal Saflieni
The Royal Opera House, bombed to the ground during World War II
The Lower Barrakka Gardens and its monuments of remembrance

Valletta's streets and piazzas contain architecture ranging from early 16th century Baroque to Modernism. The city serves as the island's principal cultural centre and its unique collection of churches, palaces and museums attract visitors from around the world. When Benjamin Disraeli, future British Prime Minister, visited the city in 1830, he described it as "a city of palaces built by gentlemen for gentlemen," and remarked that "Valletta equals in its noble architecture, if it does not excel, any capital in Europe," and in other letters called it "comparable to Venice and Cádiz" and "full of palaces worthy of Palladio."[8][9]

Buildings of historic importance include St John's Co-Cathedral, formerly the Conventual Church of the Knights of Malta. It has the only signed work and largest painting by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. The Auberge de Castille et Leon, formerly the official seat of the Knights of Malta of the Langue of Castille, Léon and Portugal, is now the office of the Prime Minister of Malta. The Magisterial Palace, built between 1571 and 1574 and formerly the seat of the Grand Master of the Knights of Malta, now houses the Maltese Parliament and offices of the President of Malta.

The National Museum of Fine Arts is a Rococo palace dating back to the late 1570s, which served as the official residence of the Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet during the British era from 1789 onwards. The Manoel Theatre (Maltese: Teatru Manwel) was constructed in just ten months in 1731, by order of Grand Master António Manoel de Vilhena, and is one of the oldest working theatres in Europe. The Mediterranean Conference Centre was formerly the Sacra Infermeria. Built in 1574, it was one of Europe's most renowned hospitals during the Renaissance. The fortifications of the port, built by the Knights as a magnificent series of bastions, demi-bastions, ravelins and curtains, approximately 100 metres (330 ft) high, all contribute to the unique architectural quality of the city.

Public housing is located within Valletta's walls. Originally the Order planned to construct for its navy a man-made anchorage in the area known as Manderaggio (Maltese: il-Mandraġġ), but never completed this plan. Instead, the area became a jumble of buildings with dark alleyways. In the 1950s the city partially demolished the Manderaggio, and rebuilt it as a housing estate.

Culture[edit]

Valletta has been designated European Capital of Culture for 2018.[10]

Music[edit]

Jazz music in Malta was introduced in the Strait Street area, frequented by Allied sailors during both World Wars. Malta's Jazz Festival took place here. Strait Street is also known as The Gut. This area is undergoing a programme of regeneration. The City's dual band clubs are the "King's Own Band Club" (Maltese: L-Għaqda Mużikali King's Own) and "La Valette National Philarmonic Society" (Maltese: Is-Soċjetà Filarmonika Nazzjonali La Valette).

Carnival[edit]

Valletta is the scene of the Maltese Carnival, held in February leading up to Lent. Carnival in Gozo is celebrated in Victoria and parishes in both islands hold their own festivities.

Feasts[edit]

Sports[edit]

Media references[edit]

Transport[edit]

Valletta is served by Malta International Airport, which is located 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) from the city. Malta's public transport system, which uses buses, operates mostly on routes to or from Valletta, with their central terminus just outside the city's entrance. Traffic within the city itself is restricted, with some principal roads being completely pedestrian areas. In 2006, a park and ride system was implemented in order to increase the availability of parking spaces in the vicinity of the city. People can leave their personal vehicles in a nearby Floriana parking lot and transfer to a van for the rest of the trip, which takes a mere few minutes.

In 2007 a congestion pricing scheme was implemented, the Controlled Vehicular Access system, in order to reduce long-term parking stays and traffic while promoting business in the city.[11][12] An ANPR-based automated system takes photos of vehicles as they enter and exit the charging zone and vehicle owners are billed according to the duration of their stay. Various exemptions and flexible billing rules make the system the next evolutionary step of systems like the London congestion charge programme. Main differences from the London system include ex post invoicing (with financial incentives/penalties for early/late payment), prepayments not day-specific, hourly instead of daily rates, a maximum daily charge (8 hours), free dashes (free if duration under 30 minutes), defined free access periods for delivery and service vehicles.[11]

Valletta is served by a fleet of electric taxis which transport riders from 10 points in Valletta to any destination within the city.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Estimated Population by Locality 31st March, 2013. Malta Government Gazette 19,094. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
  2. ^ - Valletta profile at UNESCO World Heritage Centre website]
  3. ^ L-Akkademja tal-Malti. "The Maltese Language Academy". 
  4. ^ "24th Chess Olympiad". OlimpBase. Retrieved 2 March 2014. 
  5. ^ Climate Summary from Weatherbase.com (Valletta, Malta)
  6. ^ "Weatherbase: Historical Weather for Valletta". 
  7. ^ "BBC Weather - Valletta". BBC News (BBC). Retrieved 2012-08-16. 
  8. ^ "Valletta - the Capital City". Maltaexpo.com. Retrieved 30 November 2008. 
  9. ^ "LP21 - Valletta `Citta Umilissima` Lapel Pin". Collectables - Our Products. Maltaexpo.com. Retrieved 30 November 2008. 
  10. ^ Valletta designated European Capital of Culture for 2018
  11. ^ a b Controlled Vehicular Access, CVA Technology, 1 May 2007
  12. ^ "Valletta traffic congestion considerably reduced". MaltaMedia News. 2007-05-06. Retrieved 2008-04-05. 
  13. ^ "Valletta gets its own clean taxi service". City of Valletta. Retrieved 3 June 2011. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 35°53′52″N 14°30′45″E / 35.89778°N 14.51250°E / 35.89778; 14.51250