Valletta is Malta’s capital and largest city on the peninsula known as Sceberras, between Marsamxett Harbour to the west and the Grand Harbour to the east. It was named after Jean Parisot de Valette, Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller, who was victorious in defending Malta from an invasion by the Ottomans during the Great Siege of 1565.
The Knights Hospitaller constructed the city’s buildings during the 16th century. Its Baroque architecture is very prominent, despite the destruction during the Second World War when it became one of the most intensively bombed areas. It still has many old fortifications and bastions, Baroque palaces, gardens and churches.
Sliema (meaning ‘Peace’ or ‘Comfort’), to the north of Marsamxett Harbour on the northeast coast is, with neighbouring St. Julian’s, Malta’s main coastal resort. It became a popular summer resort for well-to-do residents of Valletta as far back as the second half of the 19th century. It offers the seafront, swimming pools and great views of Valletta.