City of Valletta

City of Valletta

The capital of Malta is inextricably linked to the history of the military and charitable Order of St John of Jerusalem. It was ruled successively by the Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs and the Order of the Knights of St John. Valletta’s 320 monuments, all within an area of 55 ha, make it one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world.

Ville de La Valette

La capitale de la république de Malte est irrévocablement liée à l'histoire de l'ordre militaire et charitable de Saint-Jean-de-Jérusalem. La ville a été successivement dominée par les Phéniciens, les Grecs, les Carthaginois, les Romains, les Byzantins, les Arabes et l'ordre des chevaliers de Malte. Ses 320 monuments sur une superficie de 55 ha en font l'une des zones historiques les plus concentrées du monde.

مدينة فاليتا

ترتبط عاصمة جمهورية مالطا ارتباطًا وثيقًا بتاريخ نظام القديس يوحنا الاورشليمي العسكري والخيري. وقد سيطر على هذه المدينة بالتتابع كل من الفينيقيّين واليونانيّين والقرطاجيّين والرومان والبيزنطيّين والعرب وفرقة فرسان مالطا. وقد جعلت النصب، التي يصل عددها إلى 320 والتي تنتشر على مساحة 55 هكتارا، من هذه المدينة إحدى أغنى المناطق تاريخياً في العالم.

source: UNESCO/ERI

瓦莱塔古城

马耳他共和国首都瓦莱塔与耶路撒冷的圣约翰骑士团的军事和宗教历史紧密联系在一起。瓦莱塔相继由腓尼基人、希腊人、迦太基人、罗马人、拜占庭人、阿拉伯人及圣约翰骑士团统治。在方圆55公顷的土地上耸立的320个历史遗迹使瓦莱塔成为世界上古迹最集中的历史文化区之一。

source: UNESCO/ERI

Город Валлетта

Столица Мальты неразрывно связана с историей военного и благотворительного ордена св. Иоанна Иерусалимского. Остров, на котором находится город, последовательно принадлежал финикийцам, грекам, карфагенянам, римлянам, византийцам, арабам и рыцарскому ордену св. Иоанна. Это один из наиболее насыщенных историческими достопримечательностями городов мира: на площади в 55 га сконцентрировано 320 памятников.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Ciudad de La Valette

La historia de La Valette, capital de la República de Malta, está indisolublemente unida a la de la Orden Militar y Hospitalaria de San Juan de Jerusalén, conocida también por el nombre de Orden de los Caballeros de Malta. Antes de ser gobernada por los caballeros, la ciudad estuvo sucesivamente bajo la dominación de fenicios, griegos, cartagineses, romanos, bizantinos y árabes. Concentrados en una superficie de tan sólo 55 hectáreas, los 320 monumentos de La Valette hacen que su centro histórico sea uno de los más densos del mundo.

source: UNESCO/ERI

ヴァレッタ市街
地中海を制圧できる要衝の地にあるマルタ島は、歴史上軍事面で重要な場所であった。ヴァレッタは、1530年にトルコ軍によってロードス島を追われたヨハネ騎士団が、1565年マルタ島北東部に港町として築いた城塞都市で、宮殿をはじめ騎士団宿舎、聖堂、大学など、当時の面影を伝える建造物が数多く残されている。

source: NFUAJ

Valletta (stad)

De hoofdstad van Malta is onlosmakelijk verbonden met de geschiedenis van de militaire en charitatieve Orde van Sint Jan van Jeruzalem. Het werd achtereenvolgens geregeerd door de Feniciërs, Grieken, Carthagers, Romeinen, Byzantijnen, Arabieren en de Orde van de Ridders van Sint Jan. Valletta bevat binnen een gebied van 55 hectare 320 monumenten. Deze monumenten maken Valletta tot een van de meest geconcentreerde historische gebieden ter wereld. Na het beleg van Malta in 1565 werd de nieuwe stad gebouwd volgens een rechthoekig stadsplan. In de 19e en 20e eeuw is de invloed van de Engelse architectuur gecombineerd met die van de oudere bouwwerken.

Source: unesco.nl

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© Tim Schnarr
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief synthesis

Malta’s capital Valletta is a fortified city located on a hilly peninsula between two of the finest natural harbours in the Mediterranean. The Siege of Malta in 1565 captured the European imagination and mobilised the resources needed to create the new city of Valletta, founded soon after, in 1566. The Knights of St John, aided by the most respected European military engineers of the 16th century, conceived and planned the city as a single, holistic creation of the late Renaissance, with a uniform grid plan within fortified and bastioned city walls. Since its creation, the city has witnessed a number of rebuilding projects, yet those have not compromised the harmony between the dramatic topography and the Hippodamian grid. The fabric of the city includes a compact ensemble of 320 monuments that encapsulate every aspect of the civil, religious, artistic and military functions of its illustrious founders. These include the 16th century buildings relating to the founding of the Renaissance city, such as the cathedral of St John, the Palace of the Grand Master, the Auberge de Castile et Léon, the Auberge de Provence, the Auberge d’Italie, the Auberge d’Aragon and the Infirmary of the Order and the churches of Our Lady of Victory, St Catherine and il Gesù, as well as the improvements attributed to the military engineers and architects of the 18th century such as the Auberge de Bavière, the Church of the Shipwreck of St Paul, the Library and the Manoel Theatre. 

Criterion (i): The city is pre-eminently an ideal creation of the late Renaissance with its uniform urban plan, inspired by neo-platonic principles, its fortified and bastioned walls modelled around the natural site and the voluntary implantation of great monuments in well-chosen locations.

Criterion (vi): The city is irrevocably affiliated with the history of the military and charitable Order of the Knights of St John of Jerusalem, which founded the city in 1566 and maintained it throughout two and a half centuries. Valletta is thus associated with the history of one of the greatest military and moral forces of modern Europe. 

Integrity

The city is built on a narrow peninsula surrounded by water. As a result, the perimeter of the city has remained largely unchanged since the departure of the Knights of St John, unencumbered by more recent development. It is of sufficient size and includes all elements necessary to express its Outstanding Universal Value. In spite of some rebuilding projects during the 19th century and severe damage during World War II, a high proportion of the original monuments and the surrounding urban fabric has been preserved intact or carefully restored. The massing and materials used during these later interventions have blended homogenously with the earlier fabric, simultaneously respecting the original urban form. However, the Outstanding Universal Value of the property is vulnerable to impacts on its setting, form and fabric, deriving from the demands of a living city. 

Authenticity

Despite the succession of eventful interludes that Valletta has witnessed since the departure of the Knights, resulting in frequent changes of use of many of the buildings they left behind, Valletta has remained the administrative and commercial epicentre of the island and is today Malta’s capital. The property essentially retains its skyline and form from the 16th century, reflecting the natural topography of the peninsula; however,  this is vulnerable to development pressures resulting in the increase of building heights, which is not always consistent with the city’s historic profile. The original grid of the street plan has been respected and the most important public squares have been retained, although some key monuments were lost to 19th and 20th century re-development. Rebuilding and restoration necessitated by later war damage has respected the materials and proportions of the historic city. The property retains its authenticity in terms of form and design, materials, function, location and setting. 

Protection and management requirements

Two laws governing heritage issues were enacted in the 1990s. The first was the Environment Protection Act (No V of 1991), the second The Environment and Planning Development Act (No 1 of 1992), which aims to regulate and establish modern planning procedures. The latter established critical principles of scheduling and grading of historic buildings, and  introduced the concepts of urban conservation areas and protective zoning. Although these policies relate to the whole of Malta and Gozo, they have particular relevance to Valletta. The Grand Harbour Local Plan (realised by the Malta Environment and Planning Authority), in force since 2002, contains policies that specifically protect the World Heritage property.

The Cultural Heritage Act (No VI of 2002, am. 2005) paved the way for the formation of three entities, namely the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage, Heritage Malta and the Malta Centre for Restoration (which was merged with Heritage Malta in 2005). The Act also provides for the creation of Religious Cultural Heritage Commissions, which have the same powers and responsibilities as the Superintendent of Cultural Heritage. However, the latter has no jurisdiction over Church property. From 1995, the most significant buildings, monuments and features of Valletta were afforded statutory protection individually and collectively by means of a scheduling scheme. In addition, the Maltese Government has established a number of national entities to ensure that its aims of conservation and rehabilitation of Valletta are achieved.

Valletta is a living city. It is the nerve centre of the Maltese political, administrative and business sphere as well as a major tourist attraction. The day-to-day demands of a modern community exert heavy demands on the institutional bodies entrusted with safeguarding, conserving and enhancing national monuments which are in daily use. Equally heavy and persistent demands are made on the housing and business premises of the city. To sustain the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, a draft Management Plan for the city was prepared in 2012 and the consultation with stakeholders is ongoing. The adequate implementation of the Management Plan will require collaboration among key entities on large-scale developments within the walled city, as well as clear policies on height controls to protect the city’s skyline and streetscapes, on the extent of the control area for building heights and on view sheds outside the walled city.

Long Description

Valletta is pre-eminently an ideal creation of the late Renaissance with its uniform urban plan, inspired by neo-Platonic principles, its fortified and bastioned walls modelled around the natural site, and the voluntary implantation of great monuments in well-chosen locations.

The capital of Malta is one of the rare urban inhabited sites that has preserved in near entirety its original features. It is inextricably linked to the history of the military and charitable Order of St John of Jerusalem. It was ruled successively by the Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs and the Order of the Knights of St John. The city has undergone no important modifications since 1798, the date when it was abandoned by the Knights of St John.

Within the confines of the fortified peninsula of Valletta, which constitutes one of the most attractive natural sites of the Mediterranean, dominating the two ports of Grand Harbour and Marsamxett Harbour, the density of the buildings dating from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries is impressive. After the great siege of Malta in 1565, the new city, based on an orthogonal urban plan, was founded by the Italian engineer Francesco Laparelli of Cortona (1521-70), the planning being carried out by Girolamo Cassar. The fortification and the uniform urban plan of Valletta were inspired by architectural principles of the Italian Renaissance in combination with techniques of contemporary city-planning and aesthetic considerations of urban theorists. The buildings of the order are harmoniously integrated within the uniform grille of the streets: the Cathedral of St John (former Conventual Church of the Order, 1573), Palace of the Grand Master (end of 16th century), Auberge de Castille et Leon (1574), Auberge de Provence (1571-75), Auberge d'Italie (1574), Auberge d'Aragon (end of 16th century) and Infirmary of the Order (end of 16th century).

The same is true of the great religious buildings as Our Lady of Victory (1566), St Catherine (1576), and Il Gesù (1595). The improvements attributed to the military engineers and architects of the 18th century have not disturbed this harmony (Auberge de Bavière, Church of the Shipwreck of St Paul, Library and Mantel Theatre, etc.). The total of 320 historic monuments within a confined area of 55 ha is among the most strongly concentrated of this nature in the world.

The interweave of the urban fabric is of excellent quality and even the minor architecture has undergone no substantial alteration. During the 19th and 20th centuries, the influence of English architecture has combined in a surprising manner with that of the older existing local structures, creating new and original forms (for example narrow houses with bow windows, which fit well into the urban milieu. Moreover, the state of preservation of its well-constructed patrimony serves to make Valletta an example of historic conservation on a universal scale.

Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC