Happy Birthday Valletta! Malta’s tiny but gorgeous capital turns 454 today, and while practically no one can (or should) visit the city to celebrate this year amidst increased Coronavirus measures, that doesn’t mean we’re going to miss this opportunity to throw some well-deserved lovin’ Valletta’s way.
Over four and a half centuries after its foundation was laid later, Valletta is still as photogenic as ever, spurring local creatives to share some of their best memories and shots of the city. One such creative is Michele Agius, a freelance photographer who has snapped some pretty jaw-dropping photos of glorious Valletta over the years.
We’ll let the snaps speak for themselves.
It’s been a long and turbulent half-millennium for Malta’s capital… and new hurdles are bound to keep showing up just round the corner.
The smallest capital city in the EU (and one of the world’s smallest) at less than one square kilometre in total, you’d be fooled into thinking not much has happened in or around Valletta.
Born out of the ashes of one of the biggest and most important battles Europe has ever seen – the Great Siege of 1565 – Valletta was one of the first of its kind; a planned ‘grid’ city ready for any invasion.
Unfortunately, it didn’t take too long for that to be put to the test, with a number of rulers taking to the islands as the centuries went by. By the Second World War, Valletta ended up taking the brunt of a horrific assault on the islands, with beloved gems like the Royal Opera House falling victim of months-long bombing.
In 1980, Valletta was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage. Yes, that’s right; the whole city.
By 2018, it was Valletta’s time to shine again, with the tiny Maltese city being granted the title of the European Capital of Culture. And it’s very tough for anyone to argue it didn’t deserve it.
One of the oldest theatres in Europe? Valletta’s got that.
Over 25 churches? Valletta’s got that.
A glorious harbour that looks too perfect to be natural and yet is? Check, check, check.
“It’s hard not to feel pride as a citizen of this country when you’re in a place like this,” Agius said sharing the stunning shots. “Appreciate and treasure it.”
This year, of course, it looks like Valletta’s birthday celebrations have had to take a bit of a backseat.
As stricter measures have been put in place over the last three weeks to combat the global COVID-19 pandemic, all of Malta’s bars, restaurants, cinemas, theatres, schools and every single non-essential shop and service has had to shut down.
As a result, the once-bustling hub of Valletta has turned into more of a ghost town… but that hasn’t stopped us from taking a moment to recognise just how drop-dead gorgeous our capital is.
And while it looks like this year’s celebrations have had to be postponed, let’s make sure to all flock to the streets of beautiful Valletta for its 455th birthday next year! It has a nicer ring to it anyway.
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Today 454 years ago Valletta’s foundation stone was laid down by Grand Master de Valette. A lot has happened since then, the Knights developed it into a gem, the French later took over for 2 years (& got kicked out for stealing our gold????). Subsequently the city & it’s people withstood with valour & gallantry the never ending Nazi & Fascist air raids throughout WW2. In 1980 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site & two years ago it was named the European Capital of Culture. Appreciate & treasure it. It’s hard not to feel pride as a citizen of this country when you’re in a place like this ❤