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welcomehistorypastpresentvallettainformationdottedgallerupstrip
 

"That Splendid town quite like a dream" - Sir Walter Scott
  
After the raising of the siege of 1565 Grand Master La Valette proceeded to strengthen defences and plan a new city on Mount Sceberras. Pope Pius IV (1559 - 1565) sent to Malta one of his engineers Francesco Laparelli de Cortona (1521 - 1570) at the time assistant to Michelangelo Buonarroti who was engaged in the building of St. Peter's Dome in the Vatican.
 
On 28th March 1566 the foundation stone was laid reputedly on the site where the Church of Our Lady of Victories now stands. Financial assistance was sought from all over Europe and for five years labourers toiled to build the city's two mile long fortifications.
 
Except for Malta limestone most of the building material was imported. Mindful of the horrors of the Great Siege and dreading a further Turkish invasion, priority was given to the Valletta fortifications. For over a century, Valletta's fortifications - bastions, ravelins and crown works were extended to Floriana and present-day Hamrun. Renowned military engineers such as Floriani, Valperga, Firenzuola and Grunnerbrg contributed to making Valletta an impregnable city.
 
In June 1798 on entering Grand Harbour aboard l-Orient, Napoleon said in awe of the sight of Valletta's fortifications "we have now the strongest place in Europe."
 
The Knights of St. John were prodigious builders and transformed Mount Sceberras from a bleak barren mound of rock into an artistocratic city of magnificent palaces, auberges and churches. The renowned Maltese architect Girolomo Cassar replaced Laparelli following his final departure in 1570 and contributed to the city's urban development together with several Maltese architects who succeeded him over the ages. No wonder ... described it as "A city built by gentlemen for gentlemen".
 
The Grand Master's Palace, the Co-Cathedral and Conventual Church of St. John, the Auberges of the Knights and the Sacra Infermeria the pride and glory of the Order are some of the outstanding buildings and monuments that have placed Valletta on UNESCO's World Heritage List and declared a World Heritage Site for the enjoyment of all humanity.


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