Sunday, March 13, 2011

Valletta - A Cultural Experience

As part of Jane’s last day in Malta, we spent the morning exploring St. John’s Co-cathedral in Valletta and briefly around the city. St. John’s Co-cathedral is dedicated to St. John the Baptist and was originally commissioned in 1572. It has gone through a number of redecorations and restorations (particularly after bombing attacks in WWII) but there is certainly a lot of history to soak up among the highly ornate walls.

As part of the admission, we were given audio guides that explained a lot of the history and significance of different parts of the church, which definitely helped in appreciating the smaller details. There was also a museum part with old church robes, choir books, tapestries and several famous paintings, including 'Salome with the Head of John the Baptist' by Caravaggio. I found it particularly interesting to see the old choir books with a very different method of depicting the musical notes and rhythms than I am used to seeing. Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed in that area though. Below is a view of the highly decorated front of the church.

Afterward, we took some time to wander around Valletta briefly. It's a very interesting city and I love the look of all the narrow streets and old buildings.

Another view of Valletta below. The gates open up to the harbor and a spectacular view across the water.

As we were leaving the city to catch a bus to our next destination, we found the entrance somewhat blocked by a group demonstrating for peace in Libya. It was a fairly small group and their demonstrations were not wild or dangerous, but there were Maltese police there just in case to watch over the event. It was interesting to witness a current event play out firsthand as opposed to just reading it all in the news. A link to an article about it:

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