About Three Cities

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Three Cities

In 1530 the Knights of St. John first settled in the Three Cities, on a narrow peninsula of land overlooking the creeks of the harbour in an area known then as 'Birgu', today it is called Vittoriosa.

During World War II, the neighboring cites of Cospicua and Senglea witnessed severe bomb attacks which destroyed much of the cities.

Today, the cities are getting a new lease of life, a Yacht Marina, Casinos, Hotels and many other leisure facilites are being built to embellish this historic area. Vittoriosa, together with the fortified cities of Senglea and Cospicua, are a step back in time, an era which is particularly linked to the birth of the Knights of Malta.


Places to visit in The Three Cities

Important Churches

St. Lawrence Church, Vittoriosa
Originally one of the earliest medieval parishes. It served as the conventual Church of the knights prior to St. John’s Co-Cathedral, The present church is a fine Roman Baroque structure, with a very precious inner design with red marble, important paintings including one by Matti Preti in the chancel. The area in front of the church served as a graveyard during the Seige of 1565.


Historical Buildings and Monuments

Inquisitor’s Palace, Vittoriosa

Originally the Court of Justice, until 1574 when the Inquisitor’s Palace was born. The Inquisitors sat here and an unknown number of people were tortured and died at their hands. The dungeons with prisoners’ graffiti are still there, as are the courtrooms and the Inquisitors’ Chapel. Also on display in the Museum are exhibits of household utensils, tools, furniture and craft paraphernalia.

Bir Mula Heritage House, Cospicua
Bir Mula Heritage House is a building said to be 1000 years old. It was bought as a home by its present owners, and during the conversion of the property they discovered ancient artefacts. This privately owned Museum also features some items found within the Cottonera area.


Forts & Fortifications

Fort St. Angelo, Vittoriosa
Fort St. Angelo is the jewel in the crown of Malta’s military heritage. Records show that a mediaeval fort known as Castrum Maris stood on the same site in 1274 and it was occupied by the Aragonese and the Angevins. In 1530 Forts St. Angelo became the seat of the Order’s Grand Master. In the 19th century the British took over the fort and it became the British naval headquarters and the base of the Allied naval operations in the Mediterranean during World War II.

Fort Rinella, Kalkara
Fort Rinella was built by the British between 1878 and 1886, at a time when the islands were threatened by the supremacy of the Italian Navy. The fort houses a single gun that weighs 100 tons. It has a 32 foot long barrel with a 17.72 inch calibre. It could fire a one-ton shell that could pierce 21 inches of armor at three miles.


Museums

Maritime Museum, Vittoriosa
On display at this museum are exhibits which have played a part in Malta’s Maritime history. There is a good variety of ship models, paintings, nautical instruments, weapons and traditional Maltese boats. Two halls are dedicated to the navy of the Order of St. John and Royal Navy


Shopping

Vittoriosa Market, Vittoriosa
Not a tourist market, however it provides a welcome opportunity to mix with the Maltese people going about the business of shopping. Definitely worth seeing if you are in the area, it is by far one of the most diverse and largest markets. Held every Tuesday, 0700 to 1230

 

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Valletta
The Three Cities
Mdina & Rabat
Gozo & Comino