|General||Valletta is the capital of Malta an island nation. Valletta is a harbor city and was one of the earliest cities to be named on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Valletta was named after the founder of the city, Grandmaster Jean Parisot de la Vallette although it is colloquially known as Il-Belt, ?the City?.
In 1830, visiting future British Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli described Valletta as ?a city of palaces built by gentlemen for gentlemen.? He also said that ?Valletta equals in its noble architecture, if it does not excel, any capital in Europe.?
There are many historically important sites in Valletta. St. John?s Co-Cathedral, which used to be called the Conventual Church of the Knights of Malta has the largest and only signed painting by Michelangelo Merisi de Caravaggio. The Maltese Parliament and offices of the Maltese President are housed in the Magisterial Palace which was built between 1571 to 1574 and was wonce the seat of the Grand Master of the Knights of Malta.
In keeping with its Renaissance nickname Superbissima which means ?The Proudest the Most Illustrius? there are many palaces located in Valletta. Many of the palaces served as homes for the Knights although many knights did have their own private residences. The other palaces were built for the nobility or foreign aristocracy.
The Valletta Waterfront is made up of a number of warehouses built by Grand Master Pinto around 250 years ago. The warehouses stretch along the edge of the water and the Quay Wall. On the Waterfront you can also find the Forni Stores, which were built in 1626 for Grand Master de Vilhena. Today these stores are restored and used for dining, retail and leisure.
Valletta is home to one of the oldest hospitals in Europe. Founded in 1676 by Grand Master Nicholas Cotoner, the School of Anatomy and Surgery at the Infirmary was supposed to be the forerunner of the University of Malta?s medical school. In June 1798, the French took over the hospital right after the island was conquered by General Napoleon Bonaparte.
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