In the Holy Land the Knights built splendid large palaces and castles with ring upon ring of defenses by means of pushing the art of medieval castle and palace building to one of its high points.  Years later in the island of Rhodes they built a formidable circuit of curtain walls and bastions when sloping parapets were also used to deflect shots by intruders.  The famous obstacles in the middle of ditches with armed gun platforms including the design forming a tenaille (tongs) or even serrated forms of walled defense so that they, being the defenders of their base and belongings and the c

Melchiorre or Melchiore was the son of Marco and Veronica, his brother Lorenzo Gafa` was the famous Baroque architect who built the present Parish church of St Lawrence including many other building.  The 17th century witnessed a sudden jump in quality of sculpture with the art of the very talented Melchiorre Gafa`.  After an apprenticeship with Ercole Ferrata he established his studio in Rome.  In the course of his very brief career he became one of the top Baroque sculptors not only in Malta but of the Roman school. 

Lorenzo Gafa` was one of the greatest Baroque architects like Mederico Blondel, Romano Carapecchia and Francesco Buonamici, they were the principal Baroque architects in Malta.  That period was the first one in history of Maltese architecture.  The Baroque era of churches and palaces started by Gafa` was a testimony of rich architecture carried out by the Order of St John during their occupation in Malta from 1530 to 1798.

When the Knights of St John arrived in Malta in October 1530, they established themselves without delay in the small humble fishing village of Il Borgo (Birgu), also known today as Vittoriosa, after the success achieved during the Great Siege of 1565 when Grandmaster La Vallette acclaimed it as the victorious city.  For 41 years the streets of Il Borgo were occupied by the Knights and each nationality known as Language, “Langue” for short, took over or built residences (palaces) termed Auberges.  At first these palaces were modest when compared with the later ones in Valletta; most of them sti

“The Castrum Maris or Castle-by-the Sea, as the Castle of St. Angelo was known for most of the later Middle Ages, was the main reason for the existence and survival of its suburb of Birgu.”  So Prof. Godfrey Wittinger of the University of Malta opens one of the chapters in Birgu – A Maltese Maritime City, two volumes indispensable for the understanding of the history and heritage of this town.


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Grand Masters used to reign over Malta from Vittoriosa but on Sunday 27th April 2003, the Prince and Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Fra Andrew Bertie was granted the honorary citizenship of Birgu (Citta Vittoriosa).

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On the 4th day of April 1942, an interesting and beautiful historic and ancient Tower (vedette), that was housing a clock in its top storey, eventually one of the oldest clocks in Malta was destroyed by World War II enemy action.  This tower was built in the centre of the main square in Birgu known today as Victory Square since the Great Siege

List in alphabetical order  

  • Armoury Palace in Torri ta’ San Gwann Str
  • Auberge de Provence in Hilda Tabone Str
  • Auberge d’Auvergne in Hilda Tabone Str
  • Auberge de France in Hilda Tabone Str
  • Auberge d’Aragon in Hilda Tabone Str
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