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Monday, July 12, 2010

Monday Ground Up: Grand Master's Palace in Valletta Malta

Grand Master's Palace is located is Valletta, Malta and was the legendary seat of the Knights Hospitallerof Saint John. The order of the Knights Hospitaller arrived in Malta in the first half of the 16th century, after spending several years in route to nowhere without a base after their expulsion by the Ottomans in 1522.

Grand Master’s Palace remained the base of the Knight’s Hospitaller from 1571 to 1798 when Napoleon conquered Valletta. It was designed by Gerolamo Cessar and constructed on the site the Knight’s Hospitaller procured in 1571.

The head of the order’s nephew, Grand Master Jean Parisot de la Valette, lived in a small house on the site. Incorporated into the southwest corner of the palace, the house of Jean Parisot de la Valette still exists.

The Palace of the Grand Master’s served as a home for British governors of Malta, after the Royal Navy captured the island from the French at the beginning of the 19th century.

The island of Malta gained independence in 1964, and the palace transformed into the home of parliament. The seat of parliament meets in the original council chamber which is lined with Goblin tapestries depicting scenes from the New World and the Caribbean. The presidential office also resides in Grandmaster’s Palace.

Like the Zeughaus Museum, home of the world's most extensive collection of historical weaponry, Grand Master’s Palace contains an armory of historical weapons used by the knights and their enemies, including the sword of Turgut Reis, the Ottomon admiral and privateer who died in 1565 at the Siege of Malta.

On the basement floor is the Armoury, one of the largest collections of its kind in the world, though reduced to a fraction of its former size by the depredations of the French. Among its principal treasures are a suit of armour made in Milan for the Grand Master, Adrien de Wignacourt (1690-97) and a full-length panoply made for Grand Master Martin Garzes by Sigismund Wold of Landshut.~City of Valletta

Grand Master’s Palace contains a large part of Malta’s history, representing the changing of an era and opulence. It is, however, a site filled with the mysteries of an order people like you and I can now see first hand.

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•°°• IcyBC •°°• said...

Oh I love this post since I knew two people who have moved to Malta. This is full of fantastic information and history! Love all the images too.

Richard Wing said...

Glad to read the island has gained their independance. Spectacular photos displaying the beautiful paintings on the palace ceilings and finely crafted designs. Awesome architecture and quite a sight, indeed.

Carl said...

Oh my lord this is so beautiful!!!! What a good find! The carving is spectular...just great..Again thank for you help on Twitter..I am still getting used to it..If therre were only 40 hours in a day!! haha

Sheila @ A Postcard a Day said...

It's such a beautiful place and so steeped in history. Another on the must visit list. The whole country was awarded the George Cross during WWII. It can bee seen on the flag.

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