5 churches in Valletta

Some more known than the others

churches in Valletta

Malta’s capital city is filled with churches, serving different religions and beliefs. To be honest, it feels like every other street has a church, one bigger than the other. Below I have listed 5 churches in Valletta and added pictures as well as some history about every one of them. And yes, the pictures are only from outside the churches. But let’s be real; you don’t want someone to spoil a movie if you actually want to watch it, so why would I show you the treasures hiding inside of the churches? You got to see them for yourself.

 

St. Augustine Church

 

churches in Valletta

 

This is one of the churches that were built during the creation of the new city of Valletta. It was first built in 1571, but in 1765 it was rebuilt according to a plan of Giuseppe Bonnici.

Inside the church, you can still find artifacts remaining from the original building. Even though the church offers beautiful art on the inside, it is most renowned for the statue of St. Rita.

 

 

Franciscan Church of St. Mary of Jesus

 

churches in Valletta

 

Back in 1571, the Friars Minor (a religious order) were granted a piece of land in Valletta on which to build a church. The work started slowly afterward by the plan of Girolamo Cassar. In 1680 the church’s façade was replaced.

The main attraction in this church is the impressive ‘Miraculous Crucifix’ by Umile Pintorno, made around 1630.

Basilica of St. Dominic

 

churches in Valletta

The land upon which this church is built was given to the Dominican Order by Grand Master Pierre de Monte and the church’s first stone was laid on the 19th of April 1571.

The church is also known by the name ‘Basilica of Our Lady of Safe Haven & St. Dominic since it’s dedicated to Our Lady of Safe Haven. The dedication is based on the fact that a great number of sailors used to visit the church in order to thank the Mother of God for their safe return to harbor after long and dangerous sea voyages.

On the 24th of July 1780, the church was declared unsafe as a consequence of earthquakes and storms and was therefore closed. In the early 1800s, a new church was built on the same spot and was opened on the 15th of May 1815.

 

Church of Our Lady of Damascus

churches in Valletta

 

The original Church of Our Lady of Damascus was built in 1580. During World War II, more specifically on the 24th of March 1942, the church suffered some major bombing and was completely destroyed. The church was reconstructed and rebuilt on the 15th of August 1951.

 

Many of these Churches have much and colorful darker tales. If you curious to know more about some of these Churches check out our “Corsairs of Malta” Tours

 

 

 Church of St. Catherine of Italy

 

churches in Valletta

This Catholic Church was built in 1576 by the Italian Knights of the Order of St. John to serve as their church. In the 17th century, the church was enlarged with an octagonal church added to the chapel. Between 2001 and 2011 the church had a major restoration.

 

Article and photography by our young corsair in the making Robin Sjölund. Traveling all the way from Finland, Robin has joined our Motley crew during his stay in Malta with a dedication and passion for discovery worthy of any Corsair!

Five beautiful streets in Valletta

You have to explore while in Valletta

 

 Valletta

 

 

Let’s be honest; is there a non-beautiful street in Valletta? No, exactly. Narrow streets with buildings containing colorful balconies and doors. All the alleys filled with small shops and local businesses. It’s eye candy, better than the finest chocolate.

Listed below are 5 rather long streets in Valletta, from where you can explore the small alleys easily as well. And don’t worry if you get lost in this city. Every step in the wrong direction will make you see something amazing that you otherwise would not have seen.

 

 

 

Old Mint Street

Valletta

 

The ‘Old Mint’ takes you from Hastings Gardens almost all the way to Fort St. Elmo at the tip of the peninsula. On this street, you will, for example, find the impressive Carmelite Church (its roof seen to the left on the picture).

 

 

 

Old Bakery Street

 

Valletta

From Redbet’s Casino down to Fort St. Elmo Bay, you are walking through Old Bakery Street. There might be quite some traffic on this street, so remember to also look at what is in front of you and not just up at the architectural buildings!

 

 

 

Archbishop Street

Valletta

 

This street almost allows you to walk from one side of Valletta to the other. On the way, you’ll find monuments and of course good restaurants. And since it is Valletta; stunning architecture.

 

 

 

St. Ursula Street

Valletta

 

From Upper Barrakka Gardens to deep down, not far from the East side Valletta’s bastions. This is one of the “more important” streets, and it’s filled with tiny shops and historical buildings. St. Ursula Street allows you to walk down history lane.  Not to mention a few Corsairs of Malta Tour related stories. 

 

 

 Republic Street

Valletta

 

The absolute main street in Valletta, that goes all the way from the City Gate to Fort St. Elmo. This is definitely the most crowded street since it offers great shopping outlets, restaurants and cafés. This beautiful but busy street is the place to be. For sure. 

 

 

Article and photography by our young corsair in the making Robin Sjölund. Traveling all the way from Finland, Robin has joined our Motley crew during his stay in Malta with a dedication and passion for discovery worthy of any Corsair! If you want to walk along those streets in Valletta, join us on one of our tours.

 

Top five movies filmed in Malta

 

Malta has been hit with Hollywood for quite some time now. Today we list a few movies you might have watched but didn’t know were filmed in the Maltese islands.  More epic films yet to come in another article so keep a look out!

 

The Devil’s Double 2011

movies filmed in Malta

Starting off with our list movies filmed in Malta is the Devil’s Double. We see the Excelsior Hotel as Uday Hussein’s swanky mansion, also the Hilton tower, The British Hotel, University of Malta, are a few locations portrayed as Iraq in the 1980s. The movie stars Dominic Copper who did a fine job portraying both the roles of Hussein and his double.

 

The Spy who Loved me 1977

movies filmed in Malta

Remember the iconic scene where the amazing white Lotus dives underwater? Yes, you guessed it! It’s the Mediterranean Sea and you guessed right it’s in Malta. Another bond movie had parts of it filmed in Malta is Sean Connery’s “Never Say Never Again”.

 

Popeye 1980

movies filmed in Malta

Sadly Robin Williams may have left us altogether, but built specifically for the movie remains in Mellieha is Popeye village. So, when visiting our islands, do drop by and experience the quirkiness of this village. It’s quite a wonderful and charming little place. If you’ll be coming with your kids, they’ll love it.

 

Clash of Titans 1981

movies filmed in Malta

Forget the 2010 remake with terrible CGI, we are going to focus on the classic of the 1980s which is quite stunning to watch. The famous scene where the Kraken emerges from the depths of waters was filmed in Gozo way back where the Azure Window stood all proud with all of its full glory!

 

 

The Midnight Express 1978

movies filmed in Malta

Last on our list of movies filmed in Malta. Probably the most iconic movies of all. Filmed in Valletta, specifically Fort St. Elmo, as the Turkish prison.

This classic movie won dozens of awards including for the soundtrack done by the great composer Giorgio Moroder.  

It also features one of the famous lines in uttered in Maltese at the airport.

 “Din x’inhi?”  Which means “What’s this?” The actors speak in Maltese whilst playing the part of Turkish Police at the airport.

Ironically, the location of the prison during the film, Fort St Elmo was one of the biggest detriments to the Turks invasion during the 1565 Great Siege of Malta.

Otherwise, it may have very well become a Turkish prison.  If you want to know more about the main but mostly unknown reason the Great Siege really happened in the first place join us on one of our tours.

Haunted places in Malta: We dare you to visit those places at night. 

 

Booo!!! In this week’s post, we’re going to break down some of the scariest and most haunted places on the island.  We can’t cover all of them as this little rock has its own fair share of creepy. We are going to tell you tales that will make you hide under a sofa.

 

The Blue Dolphin house- Valletta

 

Haunted places in Malta

If you happen to be passing by in Valletta (preferably) at night for the extra-added effect, look for this house in St Ursula Street. The place is in disarray and it has never been sold. Why you might ask?

 

Back when Malta was under the British, two sailors came across a beautiful woman who asked them if they could accompany her home. The sailors not believing their luck, obliged. When they arrived at the location, the woman asked them if they could help with the door as she had forgotten the key inside. They managed to open the door and were marveled by the magnificent décor of the house.

 

The morning after, the men returned back to the house as one of them left the cigarette case back in the house. When they got there they found the house in ruins. They ran across to the neighbor who told them the house had been like that for decades.

 

Are you gripping the sheet yet? Don’t worry we have more.

 

Mdina 

Haunted places in Malta

Don’t be enchanted by just the beauty and the tranquillity of the old capital, it has tales that will keep you up at night. Here is what we think is the most disturbing story…

A young woman was about to marry, but a pompous knight had set his eyes on her and naturally, he didn’t care she was engaged. Since he was a knight he reasoned he had the divine right to do whatever he pleased, so one night he sought her out and raped her. The young woman got her revenge by the killing the knight but was caught, arrested, and sentenced to death. 

However, she was granted her dying wish to marry her fiancé mere minutes before her execution.

When visitors take pictures outside the National Museum of Natural History Museum, (where it is said the execution took place), a headless bride would appear in their photos. (Talking about photobombing) It has been said that she also appears to heartbroken men were she asks them to join her in death! 

 

 

The Courts of Justice in Valletta

 

As you have realized, Valletta has its fair share of ghost stories but here is a quirky one. The Courts were quite different back in the day. Originally it was the site of Auberge d’Auvergne, yet the Auberge was destroyed during WW2. However, before being bombed, the Auberge was converted into a courthouse, which brings us to our story. One fine evening, a duty officer thought he was going to spend another boring evening until he heard a scream downstairs coming from the cells. He went to check and found the other duty officer sitting on a chair with his head buried on his hands and the prisoner screaming in the terror. Suddenly the guard felt something cold stirring in and saw a monk.

For years the monk haunted the police station knocking prisoners off their beds and moving furniture. Later, a small grave was discovered under the police station with remains of human bones. The monk never appeared again. Could these bones have belonged to the Monk? Or worse was this monk buried alive within the walls as a punishment sometimes dished out at the time!

 

Bir Mula Heritage House

 

This magnificent building is Bormla is over one thousand years old and has many fascinating legends such as Knights Templars hiding out in this house, Knights of St John and Ottomans Officials meeting in secret to discuss surrender terms during the Great Siege, conspiracies during the Maltese Insurrection against the French and many more.

Therefore it comes as no surprise that it has its fair share of spirits! (even footage has been captured!)  

So much so that it’s also well-known with local as well as foreign paranormal researchers who visit Malta specifically for Bir Mula!

 

PS. If you want to know about worldwide delicacies that have a violent past related to Malta!  Then click HERE to take one of our “Corsairs of Malta” walking guided tours when in Valletta.

ARRRR YOU READY!!

Top 5 traditional Maltese desserts that will make your mouth water

You haven’t really experienced Malta till you try these!

 

The people Maltese love their food and why not? The Maltese cuisine is delicious and full of flavor made with love and passion. We have made a list of Maltese foods you have to try to read here. Today we are going to make a list of the top 5 Maltese desserts that you must try.

 

Qaghaq ta ghazel (honey rings

 

Maltese desserts

 

These round things were made in Christmas back then now you’ll find them available in supermarkets or any local confectionary they have no honey they are made from jam, sugar, and treacle as their main ingredients.

 

Figolla

 

When Easter comes so does these bundles of joy. The Figolli (plural) are flat cakes that come in different forms such as rabbit, lamb, hearts etc it’s filled with a layer of marzipan and decorated with icing or chocolate and a small Easter egg.

 

Konnalli

 

This sweet resembles the sweets produced in Sicily and are not altogether Maltese. The Konnalli are crunchy cubes filled with ricotta, dark chocolate, nuts, ana d mix of fruits.

 

Prinjolata

 

Quite messy to eat and sweet the Prinjolata is a round cake coated with cream, melted chocolate, and cherries. It around the Carnival time a perfect time to savor the sweet tooth before the lent.

 

Biskuttini ta Lewz

 

Maltese desserts

 

Yhis is another popular treat found in local bakeries made from almonds, castor, sugar, and eggs turn them into a soft macaroon. They go great with a cup of tea or coffee.

 

 

PS . If you want to know about worldwide delicacies that have a violent past related to Malta!  Then click HERE to take one of our “Corsairs of Malta” walking guided tours when in Valletta.

ARRRR YOU READY!!

 

 

Maltese dishes to try. Indulge in these local dishes and your tummy will happy. 

 

 

When you’re on holiday one of the most important things, apart from the sights and the accommodation is the glorious food. Malta offers a lot of traditional delicious dishes one could expect from a Mediterranean island. Today we list top five Maltese dishes to try. 

 

  1. The “Bragoli” known as Beef Olives

 

We start off the list of Maltese dishes to try with the beef olives. this is dish consists of minced meat, sliced of rump steak, and boiled eggs. It’s served with tomatoes sauce and potatoes. Over here we love our potatoes and peas. This is a must try for the meat lovers.

 

 

  1. Pastazzi

 

Maltese dishes to try. Indulge in these local dishes and your tummy will happy. 

 

The cure to everything! Be it hangovers, hunger or just indulging in one’s self. When holiday on Malta you’ll are going to spot a lot of tiny shops that sell these pastries, they are literally in every corner. The Pastazzi are filo pastries stuffed with ricotta cheese and peas. Yummy.  There are also available in chicken and spinach filling.  For those with a sweet tooth, there are with Nutella filling. They are not expensive to buy. Little bundles of happiness. Don’t overdo it as they are full in calories but worth a try. A definite Yum.

 

 

  1. Imqaret

 

To the sweet side, the imqaret is another traditional food you must try. Like the pastazzi, these diamond shaped pastries are filled with dates. They are mouth-watering and deep-fried so be careful with intake but well worth it. 

 

  1. Bigilla

 

 

This dip is served as a snack or as an appetizer. If you dine in a traditional Maltese restaurant, it’s likely you will be served Bigilla as well as Maltese bread (another food worth trying) or water biscuits. The Bigilla’s paste is made from brown beans and garlic as its ingredients.

 

  1. The rabbit

Last and not least in out lists of Maltese dishes to try. This is one of the most famous dishes on the island. Imgarr is the most famous for this. The rabbit is served in two kinds, either pan-fried in garlic and white wine or with tomato sauce. Be sure to try the Spaghetti rabbit sauce while here.

 

Ps. You’ll never believe, but our friend the Rabbit is ironically one of the reasons why we Maltese excelled in Corsairing (licensed Piracy).  Yes, you read right, I told you would never believe.

 

 

But should you want to know more about this rarely known fact, click HERE and join us one of our Corsairs of Malta Tours

Top 5 beautiful buildings in Malta: You’ll never forgive yourself if you don’t visit!

 

Malta has a mixture of Medieval, Baroque and Victorian buildings to add more charm and makes it more unique. Here is of the many few beautiful buildings in Malta.

 

 

 

Auberge De Castille- Valletta 

Probably one of the most beautiful buildings in Malta. Today, used as the Prime minister office. Opened in 1574 as the ‘hostel’ for knights coming from the Iberian Peninsula that pertained in Order of St. John. Nonetheless, the building was remodeled at least 7 times!

 The Grand Master’s symbol and crescent moon featured throughout this vast building with the main central window displaying the Grand Master’s coat of arms by all type of weaponry and arms carved in stone. Not to mention his bust and the design is a feast for the eyes! 

 

 

 

 

The Grand Master’s Palace- Valletta 

beautiful buildings in Malta

This was the parliament before the newly constructed building. More known as the ‘sede’ of the rulers of Malta and the most important administrative building for more than 300 years!

Built in the 16th century by the infamous Knights of St. John devised where originally had to stand three houses. When not hosting function of the state, the first floor or better known as the ‘Piano Nobile’ opened to the public. The Council Chamber, home to a rare collection of exotic Gobelin tapestries depicting hunting scenes from different continents and the only complete set from the 18th century. The State Dining Room is adorned with portraits of the Presidents of Malta and one painting of Queen Elizabeth II as Queen of Malta. The Supreme Council Hall is decorated with a cycle of twelve frescoes by Mattia Perez d’Aleccio depicting the Great Siege of 1565.

Perhaps our favorite part is the armory, still one of the largest collections of armaments all over Europe. The highlights include an armor of Grand Master Alof de Wignacourt inlaid with gold, huge siege guns and a collection of weapons used by the Ottomans during the Great Siege.

 

 

 

 

 

Fort St Angelo in Vittoriosa

beautiful buildings in Malta

This bastioned fort is in the center of the grand harbor. Built around the medieval period as castle named “Castello di Mare” Castle by the sea. The Order of St John rebuilt it. Where it witnessed its bloodiest period yet during the great siege of Malta serving as the Knights’ headquarters.

 

Did you know, St Angelo also has it own “Grey Lady”. Yup, it’s a ghost. 

 

 

 

Palazzo Verdala- Buskett Rabat. 

 

Another ghost lady hosts this site this time she is gray, that is the Grey Lady. This palace was originally a small lodge used for hunting. Then, enlarged and embellished by Grandmaster Verdalle from whom it takes its name. Its halls are also adorned by frescoes depicting the history of the Order, paintings and delicate furniture. Used as a retreat by the President today rather than the old Grandmasters, it’s haunting beauty lies mostly with the views one has from its turrets, where by the way our young lady killed herself… If you see her in her grey attire, say hello for us ;p.

 

 

 

 

 

The Maritime Museum- Vittoriosa

 

beautiful buildings in Malta

Going back to Vittoriosa and last in our list of beautiful buildings in Malta is this glorious building. It was once the naval bakery during the British period. Responsible for baking bread for the whole Mediterranean fleet, something like over 40,000 huge biscuits a day!

It’s our personal favorite museum showcasing unique artifacts. Including the largest known Roman anchor in the world!  The earliest known Ex-Voto on the island, the largest ship model belonging to the Order of St John and over 20,000 artifacts! Making it also the largest museum on the island! The building lies in a very scenography area and is one of

 

PS. Did you know that the original building on which the Naval Bakery once built once housed the arsenal feared and dreaded galleys of the Order? 

 

Find out more by clicking HERE about the history of “Licensed Piracy” in Malta during one of our walking guided tours in Valletta.

 

 

 

 

Top 5 places to see in Malta and explore the delights the islands have to offer.

 

Welcome to our island, a small but mighty rock filled with many places to see. Don’t judge us by our size, you’ll be amazed by the numerous grand sights, history, and heritage Malta offers.  Below are some places we strongly suggest you visit!

 

  1. Valletta

 

places to see in Malta

 

 

Valletta is the Capital City of Malta and recently the Capital of European Culture 2018.  Us locals we call it  “il-Belt”. Named after the Grand Master Jean De Vallette, its founder, although ironically he didn’t live long enough to see it.

 

The Grand Harbour, named originally as Marsa el Kabira, meaning the large harbor. It is indeed one of the most beautiful natural deep-water harbors in the world.

Ornated with the local glimmering yellow limestone, the Franka, it is profusely fortified. Bustling with life and activity it is filled with museums, art galleries, monumental churches, restaurants to fill that hungry that belly, and shops to splurge for your heart’s desire.

It is hard to imagine Valletta was once occupied with Ottoman entrenchments and Artillery used to pound and batter the knights on the opposite side of the Grand Harbour in 1565.

 

A bit of shameless promotion while visiting, make sure you check out our Corsairs of Malta tours  and You’ll never see Valletta in the same light again

 

 

  1. Sliema

places to see in Malta

 

 

 

Sliema is a resort town a long promenade with the views of Manuel Island and Valletta. If you’re visiting in summer, you must check out the rocky beaches. Lastly, if not the most important, Attention shopaholics! You’ll find high street brands and designer brands. It’s also a good place if you are coming to Malta in the summer to go for walks on the promenade and enjoy refreshing cocktails in kiosks.

 

 

  1. Marsaxlokk

 

places to see in Malta

 

This is the traditional fishing village located in the southern area of the island its one of the places to see in Malta.  Most commonly known as the main fishing village on the island. Like the above or even Marseilles, Marsa means port Xlokk or Scirocco in Italian is the name of the wind that faces this port.

 

Fish lovers beware! Try one of the many excellent seafood restaurants in this village. We ourselves make it a point to dine there whenever we can!

 

 

 

  1. The Three Cities

 

places to see in Malta

 

The three cities are Vittoriosa, Senglea, and Couspica. The oldest of them is Vittoriosa which dates way back many centuries. Locals state even 3000 years as it is claimed that there was a Phoenician temple in the area. The famous knights of St John founded the other two in the 16th/17th century. 

For history buffs, you’ll find museums, and stories we highly recommend you spend at least a whole day here. Both the intertwined streets of the town center and the promenade are not to be missed. 

For those looking for a typical Mediterranean meal fit for a king with a heavenly view, just choose one of the many restaurants along the Senglea and Birgu waterfronts.

 

 

  1. Mdina

places to see in Malta

 

Leaving the best for the last in our list of places to see in Malta. Imdina was the old capital city before Valletta. Guess what?! Evidence shows that there was a settlement here already four thousand years ago.  It’s one of the most stunning places on the island with different milieu buildings ranging from the medieval style, baroque and British colonial interpolations. Known as “Citta Vecchia” Or “Citta Notabile” it still has descendants of the nobility living within its walls. It has also welcomed great personalities amongst them, St Paul, Nelson, and Spanish kings within its walls. All with their intricate stories, not to mention, legends, miracles intrigues and above all Imdina is also to be considered a phantom citadel at night!

Make sure you plan up your romantic walk up there for a bottle of wine or two;)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maltatina dares to join the Maltese Corsairs! Valletta History Tour. 

It’s always a fun day in Valletta history tour, especially when the Maltese Corsairs are being brought back to life by your Corsair Guide …Lieutenant Xandru Galea!

 

Only today’s tour came with a twist. Joining us on today’s voyage was Tina, a Photoblogger.

 

For all of you who haven’t seen her website then do yourself a favor and do so on: Here

 

Tina, a Czech expat living in Malta, has been for on a quest for fun, entertainment and new discoveries in Malta ever since she thought she had seen it all.

 

She soon realized how wrong she was, and has been keeping a photo diary of Malta ever since!

 

Maltatina is unlike any other local sightseeing website. Tina is one of the few content creators who bases her photo blogs purely on her personal experience illustrated with her own images. So when you read her blogs you know exactly what to expect.

 

Throughout her ten years on the island of Malta, she never came across any Xandru Galea or his fellow Corsairs of Malta!

 

In all fairness, the first ever Corsairs of Malta Tours brought to you by the Real Malta Tours have only been around since June 2018… Although the History of plundering and looting all the Corsairs of Malta could get their greedy hands on, goes way back.

 

Valletta History Tour

 

Yet very few know about this secret part of our Maritime History!

Welcome to our Corsairs Tours!

 

 

 

So location by location in Valletta, Xandru Galea entertained Tina, who amused herself with our Corsair tales. Some Certain tales of torture and punishments may not have been left as amusing as they were shocking!

 

Rightly so, the Knights of Malta who governed over the Corsairs, despite healing with one hand, were not at all shy to shed blood with the other. But this is the Real history of Malta and its corsairs, the uncut and uncensored version, please!

 

We could go on about Tina’s experience, but why do so, when she has already produced such a brilliant review!  Click HERE to read more about Tina’s experience on a Maltese Maritime Voyage “For the Love of Gold” with the Corsairs of Malta.

 

 

Ps …a double ration of rum for Tina as she joined our Valletta History Tour whilst pregnant and 6 weeks shy of giving birth!!!!

 

 

Valletta History Tour

 

If you are in Valletta don’t forget to check out our tours! You can do so by clicking HERE

Top Five Fun Facts about Malta.

 

Malta despite being small has mind-blowing facts few people know about. Today, we are going to tell you our top five fun facts about Malta. (we will do a part 2 since our history is vast)

Without further ado here we go.

Fun facts about Malta

  1. Calypso Cave is said to be the cave that Homer wrote about in “The Odyssey”. The cave itself isn’t all that great, but the views of the nearby beach area. 

 

 

  1. Like the Brits and Japanese, we drive on the Left. Yep, we drive to the wrong side of the road.

 

 

  1. Other fun facts about Malta, Malta was probably originally connected to Europe via an ancient landbridge from Malta to Sicily. It was detached from Sicily when the Ice age finished and the Ice melted. That is what geologists say.

 

Top Five Fun Facts about Malta.

 

  1. It’s old. 9000 years ago first inhabitants came to the island. Much is unknown about them, a mystery of how they came and how they left. What is known is that 3600BCE the ancient Maltese where building the first freestanding monuments in the world.

 

 

Top Five Fun Facts about Malta.

 

 

  1. Last in our list of fun facts about Malta and our favorite…For almost 900 years every ruler of Malta including the Grandmasters of the Knights of St John were Corsairs

 

 

For the real story of Malta’s pirate history be sure to take one of our Corsairs of Malta Valletta guided walking tours!