The Palace Armoury will close according to the exigencies of Malta’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Please check opening hours prior to your visit.
The Palace State Rooms will remain closed until the end of June.
The Palace Armoury is one of the world’s largest collections of arms and armour that is still housed in its original building. The Knights of St John were a unique brotherhood of resolute warrior monks. From Malta, their island stronghold, these combatant aristocrats from the noblest houses of Europe, carried out their relentless crusade against the Ottoman Turks in defence of the Catholic faith. The Palace Armoury is certainly one of the most visible and tangible symbols of the past glories of the Sovereign Hospitaller Military Order of Malta.
Grand Master Alof de Wignacourt transferred the Order’s arsenal to the Magisterial Palace in 1604 where it was the pride of the Order. Apart from being lavishly adorned with elaborate trophies of arms, it held enough arms and armour to equip thousands of soldiers. It was housed in the magnificent hall at the rear of the building, right above its present location. At present, it is displayed inside two halls that were originally the stables of the palace.
Following the forced departure of the Order of St. John from Malta, the armoury somehow lost much of its original grandeur. However, it was restored and was officially opened as Malta’s first public museum in 1860. Although only a fraction of its original splendour remains, the Armoury still contains abundant material of Italian, German, French and Spanish origin from principal production centres. Also displayed is an exotic selection of Islamic and Ottoman arms and armour. Apart from the massed arms of the common soldiers in the collection, the enriched personal armours of the nobility still manage to make a statement.
Reasons to Visit
- 1. Unique display of suits of armour owned by Grand Masters Alof de Wignacourt and Jean de La Valette.
- 2. Arms and armour used by the Knights of St. John between 1530 -1798 and by the Ottoman Empire during the Great Siege of 1565.
- 3. A varied selection of firearms used for both military and sporting purposes.
- 4. A chance to see a selection of artillery pieces originally used for battle on the fortifications.