St John’s Co Cathedral | Attraction Guides | History Hit

St John’s Co Cathedral

Valletta, Malta

Lucy Davidson

15 Jul 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About St John’s Co Cathedral

St John’s Co Cathedral in Valletta is one of the most important reminders of the Malta’s time under the Christian and military order of the Knights Hospitaller of St John.

History of St John’s Co Cathedral

Commissioned by the head of the order, Grandmaster Jean de la Cassiere, and begun in 1573, St John’s Co Cathedral was consecrated in honour of St John the Baptist in 1578.

In the 17th century, Mattia Preti and other skilled artists gave its interior a Baroque theme, and over subsequent centuries, gifts and inheritances left by various knights has further embellished the cathedral to become a true jewel and must-visit site in Malta.

St John’s Co Cathedral today

Today, this grand Baroque cathedral is a testament to the Knights Hospitaller. Whilst externally it is a relatively simple structure, the inside of St John’s Co Cathedral is resplendent with frescoes, paintings and carvings. Many of these chart the life of the cathedral’s namesake.

Amongst the works found in St John’s Co Cathedral are several by Caravaggio. In fact, St John’s Co Cathedral is home to the only painting ever signed by this famous Italian painter.

Some of the most prominent members of the Knights Hospitaller are buried within St John’s Co Cathedral, their elaborate tombstones lining its walls.

Visitors to St John’s Co Cathedral can learn more about this site through the audio guides, included as part of the entry ticket.

St John’s Co Cathedral is one of the sites included in the City of Valletta’s UNESCO listing.

Getting to St John’s Co Cathedral

From the centre of Malta, St John’s Co Cathedral is a 30 minute drive via Triq-ls-Salina. Various public transport options are available, with the bus alighting at Valletta 18.

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