Birgu is the oldest of an area in Malta referred to as The Three Cities (which also consist of Senglea and Cospicua) – three fortified cities built in very close proximity to each other around the...
Birgu is the oldest of an area in Malta referred to as The Three Cities (which also consist of Senglea and Cospicua) – three fortified cities built in very close proximity to each other around the Grand Harbour. It’s located right across the water from Valleta, facing Malta capital city’s Southern side.
After the Great Siege of 1565, an important milestone in Malta's history, Birgu was awarded the title Città Vittoriosa after withstanding the brutal attacks of the Ottoman invaders. Birgu was also the headquarters of the Knights of St John, to whom we owe the city’s alternative name of Vittoriosa.
It served as the capital city of Malta between 1530 and 1571 until Valletta was built. The Knights wisely built Fort St Angelo at the very tip of Birgu due to its significant position overlooking the Grand Harbour. Apart from being their living quarters, this fort also housed the arsenal of the Order. The fort protected the harbour, guaranteeing safe anchorage, which in turn promoted mercantile and military activities.
Modern day Birgu is home to a population of almost 3,000 citizens. Birgu is slowly developing into a high profile historical showcase of Maltese tradition that carries Medieval nostalgia across its narrow winding streets, alleyways, and converted townhouses. Wine bars, tiny elegant restaurants, and the Birgu waterfront have brought new life to the small city.
Apart from being a nice place to visit for an evening out, there’s a lot to see and explore, and it’s well worth planning a day trip for.