at upper barrakka gardens, the highest point of valletta
The Upper Barrakka Gardens should be visited during any trip to Valletta, Malta. That would include a repeat visit as well.
A garden with plants and trees and flowers and a fountain dominate the central section. A small kiosk with cool drinks and covered tables for shade is off to the side and unobtrusive. Further into and past the shaded areas are the arcades and the spectacular views of the harbor below and the Three Cities beyond. Bathrooms are available for a few voluntary centimes, too.
I went to the Gardens my first day, after arriving in Valletta, because the two guide books I carried told me so. Most likely moored below in the Grand Harbor will be a large cruise ship, which arrive almost daily. From there on the waterfront, tourists will go up the elevator to the gardens, and it will be their first experience of Valletta on land.
Other tourists will arrive in large chartered busses at the central bus terminal outside the main gate, and with guides holding their flags in the air for orientation, they will enter Valletta and turn right and after a short walk will walk through the arched gate into the Gardens.
The first moments in the Gardens are welcomed: the light is blocked by the trees; the air is cooler. The walk to the entrance is on hard stone, and the sun and heat reflect off it. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail.)
There is a long arcade in the Upper Barrakka Gardens which was roofed in 1661. After the Rebellion of the Priests in 1771 during the reign of the Knights of Malta, the roof was removed. At the time the Grand Master Ximenes de Texada, on the erroneous assumption that a conspiracy had been hatched here, ordered that the roof be removed.(Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail.)
The terraced arches form an “L” along the Grand Harbor and to the elevator which descends to the waterfront. At one end one can see the docks where shipping lines load or unload their cargo. At the other end one can look toward the Mediterranean Sea and the northern edges of Valletta. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail.)
Below the gardens are the saluting canons where for many centuries at noon everyday they marked the passage of mid-day.
A magnificent view of the Three Cities and the Grand Harbor one encounters all along the the arched walkway. Container ships and ocean liners cross every day.
To the left and extending northeast far into the Mediterranean Sea, on this day, one can watch a storm enter as well as the many ships and sailboats and yachts.