Grandmasters Palace – Valletta | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Grandmasters Palace – Valletta

Valletta, Malta, Malta

Lucy Davidson

20 Jul 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Grandmasters Palace – Valletta

The Grandmasters Palace in Valletta, Malta, has been the seat of power in Malta since the 16th century. It was in 1571 that the Knights Hospitaller of St John made the Grandmasters Palace their base, a role which it would fulfil until 1798, when this religious and military order left Malta.

History of Grandmasters Palace – Valletta

At first, the site of the Grandmasters Palace only had a single house on it, owned by the nephew of the head of the Knights Hospitaller, Grandmaster Jean Parisot de la Valette. This was incorporated into the new palace.

The palace was one of the first buildings to be built in Valletta – in 1571 – and over time, successive Grandmasters enlarged and developed the building as they saw fit.

Under British Rule in the 19th century, the Grandmasters Palace became the home of the British governors and, since Malta’s independence in 1964, it has served as the seat of the country’s House of Representatives.

Grandmasters Palace – Valletta today

Today, as well as being a government building, parts of the Grandmasters Palace are open to the public, particularly the State Rooms and the Armoury. The opulent and lavishly decorated State Rooms display several art collections of which many, such as The Great Siege Frescoes by Matteo Perez d’Aleccio, dating back to the times of the Knights Hospitaller.

Meanwhile, the Palace Armoury contains the impressive collection of armour and weaponry of the Knights Hospitaller. Other impressive sites include portraits of Grandmasters and other rulers which hang in the Hall of Ambassadors, which is also known as the Red Room, owing to it being decorated in crimson furniture from Louis XV. It also contains a fresco which explains episodes from the early history of the Order of St. John.

It’s worth taking the audio tour – it’s available in many languages and offers a great deal more detail than the brief descriptions on a small number of artefacts do.

The Grandmasters Palace is part of the City of Valletta UNESCO World Heritage listing.

Getting to Grandmasters Palace – Valletta

The palace is right in the middle of Valletta, meaning that almost all buses and roads lead there. From the centre of Malta, the Grandmasters Palace is a 35 minute drive via Triq L-Imdina. There are also a number of public transport options which stop off at Valletta 18, from where the palace is a 10 minute walk.

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