On Friday 17th May 2013, Valletta has been declared European Capital of Culture for the year 2018 by the Council of Ministers of the European Union , during a meeting of the same Council of Ministers responsible for Culture which took place in Brussels.   The declaration follows the unanimous decision by the international jury of cultural experts who named Valletta European Capital of Culture in October of 2012 following the city's final selection meeting.


According to Alexei Dingli, Valletta’s Major Valletta is a remarkable reflection of European heritage, “a canvas which lends its spaces to showcase the diverse European identity, a city which respects its past while embracing its European future in a Euro-Med context." 


Valletta’s architectural riches have been compared to those of major artist cities in Europe, such as the likes of Venice, Florence and Paris. The city is dominated by a considerable cultural legacy, dating first to the Order of the Knights of St John and then enriched by the French and British who colonized the islands over the year. 


The city, owes it origin to the Knights who founded Valletta in 1566 and made it their seat for more than two centuries. Named after French Grand Master Jean Parisot de la Valette, it defended the islands throughout the ages and succeeded Mdina as Malta’s capital.


Valletta is also recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. It is at its heart a city of contradictions. Although it has a city status, it is very small, when compared to other European capitals. It was, and is still, a European cultural centre, though at the very Southern tip of the Mediterranean and with various influences from North African and Middle Eastern Europe. Valletta's bid to be a European City of Culture in 2018 gives contemporary meaning to age-old contradictions. “It looks not just north, but also south and east as it rekindles cultural ties with old protagonists in its history. Valletta has gone back to its future.”


Valletta, The Fortress City, Citta' Umilissima, "a city built by gentlemen for gentlemen" is Malta's capital city: a living, 

working city, the administrative and commercial heart of the Islands. Valletta is named after its founder, the respected Grand Master of the Order of St. John, Jean Parisot de la Valette. The magnificent fortress city grew on the arid rock of Mount Sceberras peninsula, which rises steeply from two deep harbours, Marsamxett and Grand Harbour. Started in 1566, Valletta was completed, with its impressive bastions, forts and cathedral, in the astonishingly short time of 15 years. The city is busy by day, yet retains a timeless atmosphere. The grid of narrow streets boasts some of Europe's finest art works, churches and palaces.


Walking around Valletta you'll come across an intriguing historical site around every corner: votive statues, niches, fountains and coats of arms high up on parapets. Narrow side streets are full of tiny quaint shops and cafés, while Valletta's main streets are lined with larger international branded shops for fashion, music, jewellery and much more.


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