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Main Hall of Sacra Infermeria

 

Aerial view of Valletta

The prehistoric temples are perhaps the greatest feats of architecture to grace the Maltese landscape. They can be viewed as the earliest surviving instance for the use of local limestone. It is with this important raw material that Malta’s outstanding architectural monuments are built.

The landscape and the historical vicissitudes of the island shaped its urban development. Periods of uncertainty produced structures of defence. Numerous systems of fortifications erected by order of successive occupiers have survived the ravages of time. One such case is the impressive Cottonera lines constructed by the Knights of Malta. A fitting comparison can be identified in the Victoria lines constructed during the British period. In the case of Valletta, the capital city, defensive quests are inextricably intertwined with urban necessities. In other instances, such as coastal towers, the landscape has dictated location and structure.

Prosperous periods reflect in urban growth. Such is the case during the Roman Imperial period. To this period date a number of Roman Villas, Estates and Baths. It also resurfaces in the splendour of Malta’s rich baroque architectural heritage which graces not only the Capital city, Valletta, but also the other cities of the harbour area as well as the numerous villages spread all over the Maltese archipelago. The numerous baroque churches that dominate the Maltese skyline are however the most important testimony to the genius of the local architects. The contemporary architectural idiom discerns the past for influences and stylistic traits with which to compose new architectural idioms to blend with the historic architecture of the Maltese islands.

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