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Valletta 2018 and de Vallette’s dagger
MAria Aviles / April 25, 2017

Valletta 2018 and de Vallette’s dagger
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Valletta 2018 and de Vallette’s dagger

This year sees a lot of preparation for Valletta 2018. Valletta is the European Capital of Culture for 2018 and a lot has been happening to mark this period. The Valletta 2018 Foundation is working on a series of infrastructure projects to aid in the regeneration of our capital city. Many of these projects focus on regeneration and conservation of a number of Valletta’s forgotten treasures, including the indoor market (the old Valletta market) and the old civil abattoir. I was really happy to see this as part of the project as I have many memories of going to this market with my mother and grandmother when I was very young. It was always a little dingy and run down, but an experience nonetheless. This area will be the area where the Valletta Design Cluster will be established which will really help the area and bring it to the forefront of people’s attention once again. All projects are in line with the vision that a visit to our capital should be a unique experience. Many other projects and events will be held in preparation so stay tuned to our blog for updates J

All this brought to mind the person that started actually the building of Valletta- Jean Parisot de Valette. De Valette was the Grandmaster of the Knights Hospitallers of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. As Grand Master, Valette became the Order’s hero and most illustrious leader, commanding the resistance against the Ottomans at the Great Siege of Malta in 1565, sometimes regarded as one of the greatest sieges of all time. Grandmaster La Valette did not live to see Valletta completed as he died at the age of 74. The foundation stone of Valletta was laid by Grandmaster La Valette in the year 1566. As part of Malta’s presidency of the EU, a very important historical artefact, once belonging to the Grandmaster, has been returned to Malta temporarily. Now, many Maltese people mistakenly blamed the French- specifically Napoleon- for pillaging the island of these treasures, but in actual fact, the sword and dagger never belonged to the Maltese but to the La Valette family. On the death of the Grandmaster, the sword and dagger were retained by the order, until French occupation of the islands, when Napoleon took possession of them in 1978. Napoleon sent the sword to France and kept the dagger until his death. Both have been exhibited in the Louvre museum since 1852 and it is the first time that the dagger has been back on Maltese soil. Unfortunately, because of the fragile state of the sword, it can’t travel without extensive damage being done to it. But, the dagger itself is in Malta and can be viewed at the Museum of Archaeology in Valletta as of this week J

So, there you have it … a little bit of history and something new to see during your stay in Malta… hope you enjoy it 🙂