Grandmaster's Palace and Armoury, Valletta

Grandmaster's Palace and Armoury, Valletta (must see)

The Grandmaster's Palace, also known as The Palace, was constructed from the 16th to the 18th centuries. It served as the residence of the Grand Master of the Order of Saint John, the leaders of Malta, and was alternatively referred to as the Magisterial Palace. Over time, it transitioned into the Governor's Palace and now hosts the Office of the President of Malta. Visitors can explore parts of the building, including the Palace State Rooms and the Palace Armory, thanks to Heritage Malta which operates it as a museum.

The front of the Grandmaster's Palace showcases a Mannerist architectural style, known for its simplicity and restraint, a hallmark of its designer, Cassar. The front is notably asymmetrical, a result of various modifications over the years. It features two primary entrances, each with an arched doorway set within a decorative frame, leading to an overhead balcony. The building also sports traditional closed timber balconies at its corners, with both the framed entrances and balconies being additions from the 18th century. Originally, the palace's exterior was coated in red ochre, a pigment the Order used to denote public buildings.

Since 1860, the Palace Armory, an extensive collection of arms within the Grandmaster's Palace, has been accessible to the public. It served as the Order of Saint John's main armory in the 17th and 18th centuries, marking the last such arsenal created by a crusading military order. Although only part of the original collection remains today, it still ranks among the largest collections of arms and armor kept in their original location globally.

The palace is organized around two courtyards, with one featuring a Neptune statue. The collection ranges from actual armor worn in battles on Maltese soil against Arab or Byzantine forces to swords and cannons, offering a vivid journey through history.

The armory can also be visited on a joint ticket with the nearby Palace State Rooms, which are full of history and beautiful to look at. To get to the rooms, there are four flights of stairs or a lift to take.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Valletta. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Grandmaster's Palace and Armoury on Map

Sight Name: Grandmaster's Palace and Armoury
Sight Location: Valletta, Malta (See walking tours in Valletta)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Valletta, Malta

Create Your Own Walk in Valletta

Create Your Own Walk in Valletta

Creating your own self-guided walk in Valletta is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Valletta Introduction Walking Tour

Valletta Introduction Walking Tour

Malta's capital city, Valletta, occupies the strategic peninsula between the Marsamxett and Grand Harbours. It is Europe's smallest capital city.

Valletta was founded in the 16th century. Many of the original buildings were built by the Knights Hospitaller. The city was named for Jean Parisot de Valette, famous for defending the island from the Ottomans during the Great Seige of Malta...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Valletta Architectural Landmarks Tour

Valletta Architectural Landmarks Tour

Following the Great Siege of Malta in 1565, the knights of the Order of St John set about creating a city ‘built by gentlemen, for gentlemen’. The end result saw the island's capital become home to an array of elaborate Baroque buildings, some reflecting Mannerist features borrowed from neighboring Italy.

Many of these architectural monuments have proudly withstood the test of time...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 Km or 1.2 Miles