Vittoriosa – Birgu

One of the Three Cities, situated in the Grand Harbour, Vittoriosa – birgu,  together with Cospicua(Bormla) and Senglea(L-Isla), are enclosed with five kilometers of fortifications built at the end of the 17th century during the reign of Grand Master Cottoner.

Before the arrival of the Knights of St John in 1530, Vittoriosa was already a maritime city, with most inhabitants living under the shadows of a medieval castle , today known as Fort St Angelo. When the Knights of St John, in 1530, came to Malta, Vittoriosa became the main city of the Knights and the main hub of economic activity of the islands, a busy city were trade, commerce and shipping where the order of the day. The Knights lived in the Collachio, a city area full of narrow winding streets where palaces and auberges  of the different langues of the knights were build. The Collachio it’s the oldest part of Vittoriosa and the most visited.

Vittoriosa played a crucial role in the islands’ history, that’s when in 1565 the turks of the Ottoman Empire, besieged the city for four months. On the 8th of September, the Turks where defeated. The city was honored with the title of ‘Citta Vittoriosa’ , Victorious City, hence the name ‘Vittoriosa’, which replaces the original name ‘Borgo’. Today the city is referred as ‘Birgu’

During the Second World War, parts of the city were hit, but luckily enough various 16th century buildings, which were built by the Knights, still survive today. One of the most important is the ‘Inquisitor’s Palace’. The inquisition came to Malta in 1575 and ended in 1798, when Napoleone Bonaparte took over Malta and expelled the inquisition. The palace is open for the public and one can still visit the original rooms that served as a tribunal, torture chamber, prison cells and the piano nobile.

Another interesting building is the Auberge D’Angleterre.This Auberge served as an inn for th English Knights which were never numerous , especially after King Henry VIII split from the Roman Catholic Church and he let nobody from his kingdom to become Knight. Because of this split, in Valletta, an Auberge of England was never built, leaving the one in Vittoriosa as unique.

Situated at the waterfront, a few metres down from the main square, one finds the parish church of Vittoriosa dedicated to St Lawrence. It served as the Conventual church of the order, when Vittoriosa was home to the Knights of St John.

Along the waterfront, overlooking Campers and Nicholson yacht marina and restaurants,  one finds the ex Naval Bakery, were more than 6000 loafs a day were produced for the British Navy. Today it houses the Maritime Museum.

The atmosphere in Vittoriosa is of a typical southern mediterranean port, with vivacious people. Today a lot of foreigners chose Vittoriosa as their hometown or for short break holidays.

Places of interest in Vittoriosa

Inquisitor’s Palace

The main residence and administrative palace of the Inquisitor. Still today the torture chamber, prison cells, the tribunal and the Piano Nobile can be visited

The Maritime Museum

Inaugurated in 1992, the Maritime Museum, situated in the ex naval bakery, covers 7000 years of maritime history

Fort St Angelo

Dominating the tip of Vittoriosa, Fort St Angelo has always played an important role throughout Maltese history. Today it is managed by Heritage Malta and the upper part, the medieval palace, is the residence of a Maltese Knight Fra John Cretien member of the Sovereign Order of St John.

Malta at War Museum

A visit to this WWII museum includes the screening of the original documentary of Malta G.C.and a walk around of the underground war shelters.

Palazzo Vittoriosa

An exclusive residence for the connoisseur. Palazzo Vittoriosa is situated in the Collachio area where home is nothing less then a five star experience.


Designed and Produced by Logix Digital