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Valletta

Wander through the alleyways flanked by picturesquely gallarijas; appreciate the spontaneous welcome of the talkative citizens in their everyday lives. Breathe at every step the living history built up over the centuries in the City of the Knights; let be caressed - up on its fearless walls - by the sea breeze at night.\r\nA buzzing city: cultural entertainment, shopping and good taste all day long.

Actractive resources

St John?s Co-Cathedral

St John Street, Valletta

St John?s Co-Cathedral (http://stjohnscocathedral.com) was built in the sixteenth century as the conventual church of the Knights of St John (also known as the Knights of Malta). Restored to its former glory, it is a gem of baroque architecture and art treasures, including two famous Caravaggio paintings ? the Beheading of St John the Baptist and St Jerome. The ceiling of the Cathedral was painted by Mattia Preti and the floor is covered with elaborate, inlaid marble tombs. Its riches and artistic treasures derive from the donations that successive Grand Masters and several Knights had given to the Order. The Knights were keen to bestow on the Cathedral only the finest works of art. Today, the Cathedral still functions as an important shrine, visited by numerous tourists. Its Oratory hosts a prestigious museum and a gallery of unique tapestries, and the Cathedral is often a venue for cultural events. In 2014, the Cathedral was one of the winners of the TripAdvisor Award.

The President?s (or the Grandmaster?s or Magisterial) Palace

St George?s Square, Valletta

The Palace is a Renaissance masterpiece overlooking St George?s Square, opposite the Main Guard. Completed in 1571, it was one of the first buildings erected in the new city of Valletta. It served as the Grandmaster?s Palace at the time, until it became the Governor?s Palace during the British period, and the seat of Malta?s first constitutional parliament in 1921. Today, it still houses the Office of the President and the House of Representatives, but a new parliament building designed by Renzo Piano has now been constructed next to City Gate. Built around two courtyards, one dominated by a statue of Neptune, the Palace has lavishly decorated marble corridors leading to magnificent rooms, full of frescoes, paintings and a collection of other artworks and heritage items, some forming part of the historic fabric of the building. The State Rooms make up the Palace?s main showpiece. The Council Chamber is decked with the priceless, 300-year old Gobelins tapestries featuring tropical scenes, while a cycle of frescoes representing episodes of the Great Siege of 1565 decorate the upper part of the former Hall of the Supreme Council of the Knights (Throne Room). A series of portraits of Grandmasters and other rulers adorn the Hall of the Ambassadors. A separate museum hosted at the Palace consists of the Armoury, which boasts one of the world?s largest and richest collections of arms ? swords, guns, crossbows, shotguns, cannon, as well as suits of armour belonging to Knights and Grandmasters.

The National Museum of Archaeology

Republic Street, Valletta

Regarded as the most important Maltese museum, the National Museum of Archaeology takes the visitor through a spectacular journey from the Stone Age to the Phoenician period ? from the time of the first Neolithic temples built in Malta, some 7000 years ago, up to around 400 BC. An impressive array of artefacts are on display, including the well-known ?Sleeping Lady? from the Hypogeum, the ?Venus of Malta? from Hagar Qim, and other human figurines unearthed from various archaeological sites. The exhibits give the visitor a good overview of Malta?s unique prehistory and early history. The Museum is housed in the Auberge de Provence, one of the five remaining auberges of the Knights in Valletta. Built in 1571, it is a fine example of baroque architecture and contains some beautiful features, such as the Grand Salon, with its richly painted walls and wooden beamed ceiling.

St James Cavalier Centre for Creativity

Castille Place, Valletta

St James Cavalier?s transformation from a historic 16 th century fortification to a Centre for Creativity (http://www.sjcav.org/index.asp) constituted the Maltese Government?s millennium project, intended to support both the contemporary creative scene as well as the traditional historical heritage and culture of the island, thus reinforcing the nation?s cultural aspirations. The Centre now houses a small theatre-in- the-round (created within an old water cistern), an arthouse cinema, a chamber music room and galleries for the various exhibitions that are regularly held there. As one of the island?s premier cultural spaces, the Centre strongly promotes creativity in all its forms, hosting numerous children?s activities alongside works and performances by established local and international artists. The architectural design of the interiors encourages an intimate relationship with the artistic product, inviting the visitor to take up the role of participant, rather than mere spectator, in the ongoing activities.

Strada Stretta

Strait Street, Valletta

Also known as The Gut, lower Strait Street forms a colourful yet neglected part of the Malta?s heritage. Up to a couple of years ago, the area had lain abandoned for forty years or so, and its authentic street fabric was fast being lost. However, an effort led by the Fondazzjoni Temi Zammit is now being made to revive this former hub of popular culture, and slowly but surely, the alley is returning to its old vibrant life. At the heart of the capital city, Strada Stretta was renowned for its nightlife and was arguably the Mediterranean?s top entertainment mecca for sailors in the first half of the last century. Former British sailors have set up websites claiming that Strait Street ?has not, nor did it ever have, an equal when it came to bars, clubs, mini-dance halls grouped together in a long but unbelievably narrow street ? which attracted just about every sailor in Malta ... that you can safely measure in the thousands in the 1950s...? (http://www.godfreydykes.info/MALTA.htm). Earlier, at the time of the Knights, Strait Street was conceived as the artists? quarter due to the vicinity to the Manoel Theatre. But Strada Stretta was also a hub of Maltese popular culture, linked to an impressive musical and artistic heritage representing the birthplace of jazz music in Malta and the scene of the island?s cabaret, bar and music-hall culture.