One of Malta’s most popular tourist attractions is a combination ticket to the Presidential Palace’s State Rooms and its Armoury.
You enter the attraction through the palace’s courtyard, a lovely spot with typical Valletta balcony and lovely clock tower. After your stroll through the courtyard, you gain entry to the palace complex. Your initial stop is the:
The Presidential Palace in Valletta dates to 1566 and was built following the Great Siege of Malta. It has undergone subsequent remodeling and enlargement, but core elements of the original construction remain. During the country’s British period it served as the Governor’s Palace and was the seat of Malta’s first constitutional parliament in 1921. The Palace was significantly damaged during World War II (1942), but was repaired and restored after the war. Today it’s the seat of the Office of the President of Malta. The Palace has a collection of art and heritage items of historic importance.
You’re allowed to stroll through several of the grand rooms of the palace and some of its lovely corridors. You have limited access to the Palace and though some of the rooms are finely decorated, the Palace visit seemed sterile and did not inspire or interest me very much.
It doesn’t take long to explore the state rooms and then you move on the:
Now this is an interesting collection! The Palace Armoury is home to one of the world’s largest collections of weapons and armour. When it was originally built the armoury held enough arms and armour to equip thousands of soldiers. Only a fraction of the original collection remains, but it is quite fascinating to study these ancient weapons of war. The exhibits offer a nice combination of displaying unique and unusual items, as well as giving you a sense of the vastness of the Armoury’s collection.
The Knights of St John resided in Malta and from this island carried out their crusades against the Ottoman Turks. Many of the weapons and armor from that era are on display in the Armoury museum, including some of those captured from the Turks. With the departure of the Order of St John from the island, the armory became neglected. The British Government intended to remove the collection to London for “safe keeping’, but fortunately for the Maltese this never happened. The armory was restored and in 1860 became Malta’s first museum.
The collection ranges from swords, spears and pikes, to rifles, powder horns and canons. Some of the collection is quite unusual, as you can see from the photos below.
The hours are as follows:
- Palace Armoury from 9.00am till 5.00pm, last admission at 4.30pm
- Palace State Rooms from 9.00am till 4.30pm, last admission at 4.00pm
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)