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Valletta is the capital of Malta, a World Heritage site which is almost an open air museum. Valletta has welcomed emperors, heads of state, artists and poets and is now the permanent seat of the Maltese government. The grid of narrow streets boasts some of Europe's finest art works, churches and palaces.
Valletta is full of intriguing historical sites; there are many votive statues, niches, fountains and coats of arms high up on parapets. Narrow side streets are full of tiny quaint shops and cafés. 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. Ruled successively by the Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs and the Order of the Knights of St John, it is one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world.
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