In view of major structural works currently being carried out at the Grand Master’s Palace, the Palace State Rooms will remain close until further notice.
The Palace Armoury will be open until the 9th of January and between the 12th and the 20th of January 2017.
The State Rooms are the show piece of the Presidential Palace sited at the heart of Malta’s World Heritage capital city of Valletta. The Palace itself was one of the first buildings in the new city of Valletta founded by Grand Master Jean de Valette in 1566 a few months after the successful outcome of the Great Siege of Malta in 1565. The Palace was enlarged and developed by successive Grand Masters to serve as their official residence. Later, during the British period, it served as the Governor’s Palace and was the seat of Malta’s first constitutional parliament in 1921. The palace today is the seat of the Office of the President of Malta.
It was Grand Master Fra Pietro del Monte who, back in the late 16th century, first commissioned the building of a Magisterial Palace that was improved upon, enlarged and embellished by his successors to reach its present structure by the mid-eighteenth century. Following the brief interlude of the French in Malta between 1798 and 1800, the Palace became the official residence of the British Colonial Governor of Malta. While it was mostly through the embellishments of the various Grand Masters that the Palace reached its current appearance and dimensions, the British Governors also contributed to the dynamic and at times rather complicated architectural history of this edifice. The damage suffered by the President’s Palace as a result of the Second World War was considerable. Fortunately, the competent repairs after the devastating air-raids of February and April 1942 helped to revive the prime national and stately function of the Palace. The Palace subsequently became the seat of Malta’s Legislative Assembly set up in 1947, Malta’s first parliament following Independence in 1964 and subsequent legislatures till the present day.
Ever since the times of the Order of St John, the palace was the seat of a collection of works of art and heritage items some of which still grace its walls. Some were purposely produced and form part of the historic fabric of the building. Others were acquired, transferred or presented at different times throughout its chequered history.
Reasons to Visit
- 1. The only complete and intact set of the famous 18th century French Gobelins tapestries entitled, “Les Teintures des Indes”, in the world.
- 2. The most comprehensive visual narration of the Great Siege of 1565 painted by Matteo Perez d’Aleccio.
- 3. The portrait gallery of the various rulers of the Maltese Islands spanning from the coming of the Knights of St John in Malta till today.
- 4. The late 18th century Baroque illusionistic ceiling paintings that reflect the pageantry and grandeur that the Grand Masters pandered to as they imitated the great aristocratic courts of Europe.
- 5. A lavish space that is well over 400 years old and that has weathered the political demands and tastes of the Knights of the Order of St John, the British Governors and the Presidents of the Republic of Malta.