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Where Modern lives with History

When, in 1565, Laparelli was commissioned by Grand Master La Valette to draft the master plan of a new fortified city to strengthen the defenses on the island of Malta, the only existing building on the Sciberras Peninsula was Fort St. Elmo. Here is a brief account of the circumstances that led to the founding of this city, which, as Sir Walter Scott once said, is "a city built by gentlemen for gentlemen". 1551 saw a raid on the Grand Harbour when four Ottoman ships entered the harbor and laid havoc in the very heart of the Knights' domain. This event brought to light the urgent need to build a fortress at the tip of Mount Sciberras to guard both harbors. Military engineer Pedro de Pardo arrived on 6th January 1552, and such was the fear of another attack that the foundation stone was laid on 14th January in a ceremony with much pomp and regalia. Between 1500 and 1750,...

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