Birgu, Malta

Birgu is one of the three fortified cities around the Grand Harbour, along with Senglea and Copiscua. It's also known as Vittoriosa, after being awarded the title "Città Vittoriosa" for withstanding the brutal attacks of the Ottomans during the Great Siege of 1565.
It was the first capital of Malta after the arrival of the Knights Hospitallier but it had long existed before the Knights arrived. Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans and Aragonese all contributed to the development of the city, due to its strategic location, instrumental to defend the island.

How to go: From Valletta, buses 2, 3 and 4.

What I visited in one morning:

The Inquisitor's Palace

It is one of the very few surviving buildings used by the Inquisition and the only one accessible to the public. It was built around 1530 when the Knights Hospitallier arrived at the island. It was used by the Inquisition between 1574 and 1798. 
Monday to Sunday 9 am to 5pm; €6.

Collegiate church of Saint Lawrence

The church was rebuilt in the 17th century in the Baroque style and has a richly decorated interior.

Fort St Angelo

Fort Saint Angelo was for centuries an important defensive stronghold, due to its strategic location. It was originally built in the medieval period when it was known as "Castrum Maris" (castle by the sea). It was the headquarters of the Order of Malta during the Great Siege of 1565. Its current appearance dates from the late 17th century when it was renovated. Although I was able to visit, it is currently closed to the public due to the urgent need of being restored.

The Maritime Museum

This museum is located within the Old Naval bakery. It illustrates Malta's maritime history, from prehistoric times to the present day and the impact of seafaring on Malta's society. 
Monday to Sunday: 9 am to 5 pm; €5.


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