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step right this way and we see the parliament house to the right

Unless you go to Valletta in a taxi and it takes you around the ramparts for some reason, you will enter Valletta, a fortress city built in the 1500’s, through the main gate.

You might arrive by cruise ship and take the elevator up for 1 euro and bypass the main gate. You can cross the waters via the ferries from Sliema or the Three Cities and walk up the streets to the center.

As I mentioned earlier, Valletta is a peninsula with water on three sides. The fourth side is a deep deep trench.

The main gate into Valletta after crossing the deep deep trench was the last formidable task that invaders would have to overcome in order to enter the city. That gate has gone through five incarnations: “The last fortified gate was demolished in 1964, replaced by a Futurist gate designed by Alziro Bergonzo. This gate was then demolished in 2011, and it was replaced by Piano’s gate which was completed in 2014.” (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail.)

Off to the left and right beyond the gate are symmetrical steps that lead off to other buildings or to some apartments. But wait, there’s more!

valletta, ye cursed streets of stairs!

Farewell To Malta

Adieu, ye joys of La Valette!
Adieu, sirocco, sun, and sweat!
Adieu, thou palace rarely enter’d!
Adieu, ye mansions where I’ve ventured!
Adieu, ye cursed streets of stairs!
(How surely he who mounts you swears!) —Lord Byron (May 26, 1811)

George Gordon Byron, commonly known as Lord Byron, an English poet, peer, politician, and a leading figure in the Romantic movement, traveled overland on a Grand Tour sometime between 1809 to 1811 to Seville, Spain from Portugal, and then to Jerez de la Frontera, Cádiz, Gibraltar and from there by sea to Valletta, Malta.

He was not the only well-known English poet who ventured to Malta during the first years of the British control of Malta. In 1804 Samuel Coleridge traveled to Malta and worked for a time as Acting Public Secretary of Malta under the Civil Commissioner, Alexander Ball.

Sir Walter Scott came to Malta on doctors’ orders. In October 1831, he set sail on the Mediterranean in an attempt to recover his health, spending three weeks in Malta. Inspired by his stay, he wrote the novel The Siege of Malta, which was written in 1831 but not published until 2008.

A long set of stairs that emerge from the left of the entrance gate to Valletta. Another set of stairs, symmetrically identical, ascend from the right of the gate. They are modern and, of course, did not exist during the 19th century.

Lord Byron was born with a deformed right foot, which caused him great pain and frustration. He wore leg braces and orthopedic boots that were secured around the shin with a leather buckle. Such a device made walking difficult for him throughout Valletta. But wait, there’s more!

looking at a distance on repubblika ta’ malta and from its capital il-belt valletta

What country in the European Union is the smallest?

What country was ruled in succession by the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, Sicilians, Spanish, Knights of St. John, French, and British?

What country has a capital–Valletta–that will be the European Capital of Culture in 2018 and is itself an UNESCO World Heritage site?

The answer, of course, is Malta, a small island on the Mediterranean Sea that is not far from Sicily and the boot of Italy. Within a short time after arriving on Malta and seeing Valletta for the first time, I wondered why I had not visited sooner.

Valletta, or Il-belt Valletta in Maltese, is a small capital sitting on a peninsula and is clearly surrounded on three sides by water. The Mediterranean Sea is to the northeast.

The Grand Harbor is located at the south eastern side of Valletta and has been a harbor since Roman times. It has several docks and wharves, as well as a cruise liner terminal. A terminal at the Grand Harbor serves ferries that connect Malta to Pozzallo and Catania in Sicily, too. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail.) But wait, there’s more!

are we friends now the president of malta and i?

I told her I was enjoying my stay in Malta, and she cautioned me to be careful of the sun. Briefly and with the fingers, we shook hands. So went my encounter with her excellency Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, the ninth President of the Republic of Malta.

I learned that her “nomination as President was, for the first time in the history of the Maltese National Parliament, approved unanimously by a parliamentary resolution of the House of Representatives” and that “at the age of 55 years, Coleiro Preca is the youngest President of the country, and is the second woman occupying the office of Head of State after 32 years.”

Madame President with a police escort arrived at 10:00 at Triq Ir-Repubblika, the main street that runs through the center of Valletta, and stopped in front of the Great Siege Monument where an honor guard awaited her. But wait, there’s more!