Merchants Street, Valletta
Parallel with Republic Street to the southeast is Merchants Street, which begins at the bastions of Fort St Elmo.Some 130yd/ I20m along it is crossed by Old Hospital Street, in which, to the left, is the Hospital of the Order.
Merchants Street Map
On the corner of Merchants and St John's Street, the Castellania originally housed the law courts. It was completed in 1760 during Grand Master Pinto's reign, and includes a florid stone-work and his crescent emblem. The figures either side of the first floor balcony represent Justice and Truth. There is a pillory stone in the apex of the building's corner, for those convicted and sentenced to death after the Priest's Revolt of 1775. Above this is a hook, which was either used to hoist up the bells of St John's or to suspend convicts sentenced to imprisonment in a cage.In 1896 the building became the office of the Health Department and it was here that the physician and prominent archeologist Sir Themistocles Zammit discovered the Mediterranean strain of brucellosis in 1905.At present, the building is a girls' school.
Hospital of the Order
Parallel with Republic Street in Valletta, to the southeast, is Merchants Street, which also begins at the bastions of Fort St Elmo. Some 130yd/I20m along it is crossed by Old Hospital Street in which, to the left, is the Hospital of the Order. Its situation on the south-facing slope of Mount Sciberras was perhaps climatically unsatisfactory, but enabled sick and wounded to be brought easily and quickly into hospital from ships anchored in the adjoining Grand Harbor. The building was erected in the time of the Grand Master, Jean I'Evêque de la Cassière (1572-81 ) by an unknown architect. It now houses the Mediterranean Conference Center ("multi-vision" display on the history of Malta).
Near the Auberge de Castile, on Merchants Street in Valletta, is the 18th century Palazzo Parisio, now occupied by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Napoleon Bonaparte stayed here briefly after taking Valletta on June 11, 1798.Left of Castile Square is Palazzo Parisio, which dates from the 18th century and has a three-story Neo-Classical facade.The Palazzo was built in the late 18th century. Napoleon made it his headquarters for five days during his brief plundering stay en route to the Egyptian campaign.Today it is the home of the Ministry of Commonwealth and Foreign Affairs.
Opposite the Grand Master's Palace is Valletta's covered market, with various stands and stalls. It remains much the same as far as St John Street, which connects with the square in front of the Co-Cathedral.It is almost impossible to get through here on weekdays.
Church of St Dominic
Sleepy St Dominic Street leads from Lower Barracca Gardens towards the city center. At the junction with Merchants Street, the Church of St Dominic is just a few yards off to the right. Its Sicilian Baroque facade is unusual for Valetta.
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