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“Impressive Historic Fortress”

Fort St Elmo - National War Museum
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Ranked #11 of 90 things to do in Valletta
Certificate of Excellence
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Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Fort St Elmo - National War Museum The National War Museum houses a superb collection of items which takes us back to prehistoric times. The items are displayed in chronological order and start with the early phases of the Bronze Age around 2,500 B.C. During the second Punic war Malta changed hands and became part of the mighty Roman Empire. The disintegration of the latter led to a period of unrest where it is speculated that Malta was subject to vandal attacks. The Eastern Roman Empire officially recognised as the Byzantines, reconquered Malta in 535AD. Little is unfortunately known about life on the islands during Byzantine times as Malta is rarely mentioned in historic documents. Malta changed hands again in 870AD following a fierce battle between the Arabs and the Byzantines. For the next 221years Malta was ruled by the Arabs and once again the culture changed to reflect these new rulers. The Normans, a rising power of the time, won Malta in 1090. These were succeeded by other European rulers that also governed the Kingdom of Sicily, namely the Swabians, Angevins, Aragon/Catalans and finally the Spanish. Malta's Middle Ages ends in 1530 with the arrival of the Knights of the Order of St. John. Medieval armour and other equipment displayed highlights the complex power struggle emerging in the Mediterranean and in Europe between Christians and Muslims with prominence being given to the Great Siege of Malta in 1565. The post-Great Siege period saw the building of Valletta, numerous fortresses, fortification works and coastal fortifications throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. The Order of St. John's rule in Malta was brought to an end by arrival of the French in Malta led by none other than Napoleon Bonaparte. The rule of the French did not last long however. Just three months after their arrival the Maltese rebelled and with the assistance of the British, Malta got rid of the French invaders. The British took over Malta and transformed it into one of their many colonies. Two halls are dedicated to Malta's important role in WW I, the Inter-War Period and Malta's historical role in the Second World War. Displayed in these halls one can find perhaps the three most important icons of this museum: the Gloster Sea Gladiator N5520 FAITH, Roosevelt's Jeep 'Husky' and Malta award for gallantry, the George Cross. Concluding the walk through Malta's military role in history are displays dedicated to Malta's Independence, becoming a Republic, Freedom Day and Malta joining the European Union
Dublin, Ireland
Level 6 Contributor
159 reviews
79 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 148 helpful votes
“Impressive Historic Fortress”
Reviewed 9 December 2013

Having viewed it from Tigne Point in Sliema, across Marsamxett harbour, we decided to walk around by the fortress after our visit to the Carmelite Church, whose dome predominates the skyline from this point. See attached photo of fort & bridge / breakwater from Tigne Point.

Built in the 16th century, Fort St. Elmo held out for 28 days against the Turks in 1565, buying time for the defenders before reinforcements arrived to lift the siege.

Undergoing extensive refurbishment costing €15.5m (85% financed by the EU), the fort is scheduled to open to the public in April 2014.

Having taken the virtual tour on YouTube, we will make sure to visit next time we are in Malta.

Visited October 2013
2 Thank Suburban_Couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Tortona, Italy
Level 6 Contributor
2,489 reviews
1,976 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1,289 helpful votes
“Amazing Fort and very well kept.”
Reviewed 30 October 2013

During my visit to Valletta I tried in vain to visit the Fort but unfortunately it was closed, I had the pleasure to admire it from the outside and from different points of view.
The structure is imperious, colossal, beautiful and well-preserved, placed in a perfect location, to take pictures all around it.
Also from here you have a stunning view of the harbor and most of the city, in short, shame we did not get inside.

Visited September 2013
2 Thank Magellano81
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 6 Contributor
104 reviews
54 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
“History through W.W.2”
Reviewed 19 October 2013

This museum tells the story of Malta through W.W.2.
There are plenty of artifacts, all well labeled. You walk through a time-line dated on the floor. Because of the British navies involvement in the island, there is good documentation of this.
A good place to be on a over hot day, or even a rainy one. The whole thing would only take you an hour or so.

Visited October 2013
2 Thank Owain
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Durham, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
40 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Step back in time”
Reviewed 11 October 2013

I really rated this museum as it put a great deal of history surrounding Malta into context. Great to view The George Cross awarded to the island in WW 2. There was a great deal of info about both World Wars Good mix of military & civilian historical perspective

Visited February 2013
1 Thank Frances Ann J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
51 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Must visit again when renovations finished”
Reviewed 28 September 2013

My advice for anyone going to look at the forts in Valletta (which have an amazing history and are very impressive), is wait for a few years until the renovations are finished.

Visited September 2013
Thank Sallie B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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