From the main entrance of St John's Co-Cathedral in Valletta, St John Street goes down toward the Grand Harbor. Going down a flight of steps at the end of the street and passing the Renaissance Church of St Mary of Jesus (16th century), designed by Gerolamo Cassar, we come to the St Barbara Bastion, from which it is only a few paces, by way of the Victoria Gate, to the Harbor. From the end of the street called Liesse Hill we continue through a tunnel under the fortifications to the old Customs House, with the landing-stage used by the gondola-like dghajjes (singular dghajsa) which ply in Grand Harbor.
The whole harbor area around the center of Valletta is enclosed by a semicircle of densely populated little towns, which combine with the capital to form the conurbation of Valletta. Running into one another along the south side of the Grand Harbor are Kalkara, Vittoriosa, Cospicua, Senglea, Paola and Marsa, and to the north, around Marsamxett Harbor, are Floriana Pietà, Msida, Ta' Xbiex, Gzira and Sliema.International shipping traffic mostly uses the Grand Harbor of Valletta, which can take vessels of any size. There are also ferry services from Valletta to Catania, Syracuse, Reggio di Calabria and Naples, as well as to Libya, the main customer for Malta's exports.The Grand Harbor, modernized in 1961, handles almost the whole of the country's commercial and passenger traffic. It has a deep-water quay, which can take vessels of up to 92,000 GRT, with a large grain elevator (capacity 12,500 tons) and many transit warehouse S. The harbor has an annual turnover of more than 400,000 tons of freight.
Opposite Fort St Elmo, on the Grand Harbor side is the knights' old hospital, the Sacra Infirmeria, formerly one of the largest and best hospitals in Europe. The patients here, even those from outside the Order, were allowed to eat from silver plate, and the hospital also cared for the insane, and for destitute and illegitimate children.When the French arrived on Malta, they ejected the patients and melted down the silver plate to help pay for the Egyptian campaign, although some still survive and are on display in Valletta's National Museum of Fine Arts.The Great Ward of the hospital was a magnificent 154-meter-long vaulted hall. It has now been restored and is part of the Mediterranean Conference Center.
From the end of the street called Liesse Hill we walk through a tunnel under the fortifications to the old Customs House, with the landing-stage used by the gondola-like dghajjes (singular dghajsa) which ply in Grand Harbor.From the foot of the bastion it used to be possible to take a lift up to the beautiful 'Upper Barracca Gardens".
Grand Harbor Regatta and Fireworks Display
The Regatta in Grand Harbour and a great fireworks display takes place during the first week-end in September.
St Barbara Bastion
Past the Renaissance Church of St Mary of Jesus is the St Barbara Bastion, from which it is only a few paces, by way of the Victoria Gate, to the harbor.
Grand Harbor Pictures
Map of Valletta Attractions
More Valletta Attractions
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