Grandmaster's Palace

Valletta, Malta

The Grandmaster's Palace was built in the 16th century as the palace of the Grand Master of the Order of St. John, who ruled Malta, and was also known as the Magisterial Palace. It currently houses the Office of the President of Malta, and part of it is open to the public as a museum.

The Grandmaster's Palace was originally built in 1569, as the palace of Eustachio del Monte. It was purchased by Grand Master Jean de la Cassière in the 1570s, and was enlarged into his own residence by the architect Girolamo Cassar. It was further enlarged and embellished by successive Grand Masters, and its present configuration dates back to around the mid-18th century.

In 1800, Malta was taken over by Britain, and the island eventually became a crown colony. The Grandmaster's Palace became the official residence of the Governor of Malta, and it became known as the Governor's Palace.

The palace's Tapestry Hall became the meeting place of the Parliament of Malta in 1921, and it continued to serve as such until 1976, when the parliament moved in the former armoury, also within the palace. The House of Representatives moved out of the Grandmaster's Palace to the purpose-built Parliament House on 4 May 2015.

Architecture

The Grandmaster's Palace was originally built with Mannerist characteristics typical of its architect Girolamo Cassar. Its façade is simple but severe, and is characterized by two large doorways and long wooden balconies at each corner. The balconies and doorways did not form part of the original palace, but were later additions. Apart from the two entrances in St. George's Square, there is a third entrance from Piazza Regina (Republic Square) just west of the National Library.

The palace is built around two courtyards, one of which is dominated by a statue of Neptune. The entrance to the state rooms is in the Neptune Courtyard via a spiral staircase. The ceiling of this entrance was painted by Nicolau Nasoni in 1724.

Palace Armoury

The Armoury, which houses one of the finest collections of weapons of the period of the Knights of Malta, runs the width of the back of the palace. Spears, swords, shields, heavy armour and other weapons are on display. Examples include parade armour of various Grand Masters including Jean Parisot de Valette and Alof de Wignacourt, and Dragut's own sword.

Throne Room

The Throne Room was built during the reign of Grandmaster Jean de la Cassière. It was used by successive Grandmasters to host ambassadors and visiting high ranking dignitaries. During the British administration it became known as the Hall of Saint Michael and Saint George after the Order of St Michael and St George which was founded in 1818 in Malta and the Ionian Islands. It is currently used for state functions held by the President of Malta.

The cycle of wall paintings decorating the upper part of the hall are the work Matteo Perez d'Aleccio and represent various episodes of the Great Siege of Malta. The coat-of-arms of Grand Master Jean de Valette on the wall recess behind the minstrels gallery was painted by Giuseppe Calì.

In 1818, the British transformed this hall by completely covering the walls with neo-classical architectural features designed by Lieutenant-Colonel George Whitmore. These were removed in the early 20th century. The minstrel's gallery is thought to have been relocated to this hall from the palace chapel which was probably its original location. Of particular interest is the original coffered ceiling and the late 18th century-style chandeliers.

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Details

Founded: 1569
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Malta

Rating

4.2/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Vanya Mihaylova (5 months ago)
We visit it on Sunday lunch using the combo Valetta ticket. It is one magic museum where you could brief deep from the history, atmosphere and learn much more. I could easily say that all 5 museums which we visit are a must for those who want to understand better the Malta island.
Paul Valletta (5 months ago)
It's the Main Square at the heart of Malta's capital city, Valletta , built on Mount Sciberras by the Grandmaster Jean de la Valette. In the square, you will find the Grandmaster's Palace , nowadays, it's known as the Presidential Palace . It's a must to visit, and finally, we can say it is nearly to completion from a tremendous restauration, brought back to its beauty .
noel borg (5 months ago)
The Grand Master Palace is an attraction that cannot be missed, great history of Malta and the maltese who defended its forts and the capital city VALLETTA.
Peter Scharf (6 months ago)
Newly restored and proudly dominating St George’s Square in the heart of Valletta, the Grand Master’s Palace invites you to wander along its 450-year history as a centre of power and the symbol of a nation. The first building to be constructed by the Knights of St John in the new capital city and enlarged over the years, the Palace is a state within an edifice. During the British period, it served as the Governor’s Palace and was the seat of Malta’s first constitutional parliament in 1921. Presently, the Palace is the seat of the Office of the President of Malta.
ifunanyaChukwu (6 months ago)
Architectural masterpiece, the arch alley, by the Grandmaster Palace Court. The courtyards-Great place for relaxation, outdoor events, selfies, family outings, leisure, strolling etc. Bursting with cheery atmosphere. The coffee shop at the square was opened since 1898! They serve handmade recipes made from scratch. Beautiful atmosphere, with good amount of greenery from the trees. Noise level is moderate. So many picturesque views. The palace itself is under re-construction, but there are fun places to see within the yards.
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