Unmissable Museums in Valletta!

Valletta, Malta’s capital city, is a treasure-trove of Malta’s historical past, not to mention a virtual living exhibition embodying rich architecture, Maltese cultural heritage and educational entertainment. The sheer number of museums and exhibitions present in this city alone is enough to fill up more than a day in any visitor’s itinerary, and there are actually places which are surely unmissable to those who are interested in learning more about Malta’s and the Mediterranean region’s past.

The Grandmaster’s Palace

Built between the 16th and 18th century in the Mannerist style by the architect Gilormu Cassar, this served as the main palace for the Grandmaster of the Order of the Knights of Saint John, who at the time governed the island. There are two main entrances to the Palace, one found on Old Theatre Street, and the other on Merchant’s Street. It currently houses the Office of the President of Malta, The Palace State rooms and the Palace Armoury are run by Heritage Malta and open to the public. To note are also the famous Tapestry Hall, the State Dining Hall and the Ambassador’s Room.

Grandmaster’s Palace Courtyard – Pic Source: mymalta.guide
The Armory – Pic Source: Lonelyplanet.com

The National Museum of Archaeology

Housed in the Auberge de Provence in Republic Street, the Museum of Archaeology’s building itself is an architectural gem, having been built in 1571 in the Baroque style. The Museum hosts different exhibitions, the main of which are available all year long. The earliest artefacts on display date back to Malta’s Neolithic Period (5000BC). One can find artefacts originating from such sights as Għar Dalam, Skorba and Żebbuġ, as well as items pertaining to the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum and the Xagħra Stone Circle among others. Of particular note are the ‘Sleeping Lady’ from the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum and the ‘Venus of Malta’ from Ħaġar Qim.

The National War Museum

Situated in Fort St. Elmo, the National War Museum is one of the most popular museums on the island. It hosts exhibits relating to Malta’s military history ranging from the Bronze Age to present times, however is mostly features artillery pertaining to World War I and World War II. The building housing the Museum was originally a gunpowder magazine, which was converted into an armory in the 19th century. Anti-aircraft gun crews were trained there during World War II.

The National War Museum – Pic Source: malta.com

The Knights Hospitalliers Museum

Located within the building of the Sacra Infermeria (Holy Infirmary) in the Malta Conference Centre, this small yet interesting exhibition focuses on the role and history of the Knights of the Order of St. John (or the Knights Hospitalliers) in the Maltese islands. Although the Conference Center is currently in use for other functions, the exhibition itself, located in the underground halls and corridors of the former 16th century hospital used by the knights, is accessible to the public.

The National Museum of Fine Arts – Pic Source: myguidemalta.com
The National Museum of Fine Arts – Pic Source: myguidemalta.com

Although these mentioned are the most well-known of the museums in the capital city, there are a number of others which would be worthwhile visiting. These include the National Museum of Fine Arts, Malta’s Postal Museum in Archbishop Street, and Casa Rocca Piccola, a beautiful 16th century Palace which houses original pieces and documents dating from the 16th century to the present day, not to mention the largest private collection of antique Maltese costumes and the largest private collection of Maltese lace. This Palace is privately owned but also available to the public.

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Sunday is a Tea Day

Some people hold to the idea that the way the day starts is an indication of how the rest of their 24 hours will evolve. If the day starts well, everything will be fine, if however you get out of bed on the wrong foot, if your car crashes on the way to work, if you find a dead cat in your yard, or spill mustard all down your freshly pressed white blouse… then the rest of the day will ‘obviously’ be a no-no.

I do not really think that’s true.

BUT there is one exception.

I never have breakfast in the morning. I never did for as long as I can remember. It’s not how I was raised. Mornings were always rushed breathless affairs. There were always teeth to be brushed, clothes to be worn hurriedly before the school bus arrived, and since I always preferred sleep to food, mornings were always calculated to maximize that. When I was a child and then a teen, I always slept as much as possible and then had 20 minutes at most to freshen up and dress before heading out. And that has not changed today.

Pic Source: blog.core-ed

I start work very early. At 6.45am to be specific. Waking up an hour before that means I have 30 minutes to shower, do my face, and get dressed before hitting the road, and there isn’t time for breakfast or even for drinking something hot, during those 30 minutes of panic.

That changes once I actually arrive at work, since I am always the first one to get there. I hang my bag and my jacket, switch on my pc, arrange my stuff just so, and then, and only then, take five minutes to enjoy a good cup of ‘wake-me-up’ coffee. Of course, it’s only after the second cup, an hour or so later, that my foggy brain actually starts perking up a bit. But it’s a start.

Pic Source: commercialcafe.com

Starting my day with coffee means it’s going to be a busy, practical PRODUCTIVE kind of day. It means I mean business. That I know I have a lot of stuff to do, and that I’m absolutely going to dig in and do it to the best of my abilities. And this is how I start most of my days – from Monday to Saturday to be precise. I do not work on Saturdays. Not at my job at least. However having your own home also means having chores and household duties, which all tend to pile up during the week, and which therefore have to be tackled on Saturdays.

So yes, I still get up pretty early on the first day of the weekend. I drink my coffee, and start polishing furniture, (trying to) polish mirrors, tackle those bathrooms (because unfortunately, they never get clean by themselves) and wash the floors. Meanwhile, my other half takes care of the laundry and goes to the store to buy bread, milk, eggs, etc. My second cup of coffee usually sees me cooking lunch.

And then… Sunday comes round.

Blessed Sunday when there is no job to go to, no chores to do, no housework to finish, and (usually) nothing in particular to worry about or rush towards.

Pic Source: rebloggy.com

Sunday is a tea day.

I wake up late. My so brings me tea in bed. I sip it slowly while I peruse social media, then I go shower, emerge sleepily and softly, look around me, happily confirming the fact that I AM FREE FOR THE DAY. TOTALLY FREE! Free to go out and enjoy myself with friends, free to indulge in a solo swim if I want to, free for a kiss and a cuddle (or two) with my beloved hunk. Most importantly, free to READ, CHILL and DO NOTHING ELSE for hours and hours at a time.

Oh yes, Sunday is definitely a tea day. The only thing I need to worry about, is whether to dunk my biscuit or just eat it.

Pic Source: greeting-day