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Malta’s maritime city: Meet the people of Vittoriosa (Birgu)

Description

This is a short extract from a documentary which was first broadcast in 1978.

It tells the story of Vittoriosa and its people, their lives and loves. Vittoriosa, or Birgu as it is also known, is a maritime city packed with history and architectural splendour. For a time, it was the centre of civil, religious and social life in Malta, especially during the Knights’ period. The Inquisitor’s Palace in Vittoriosa was the seat of the Inquisition in Malta from 1571 to 1798. Today, the magnificent building is open to the public.

Vittoriosa, like Valletta, Cospicua, and Senglea, was devastated by aerial bombing raids during the Second World War. Reduced to a rubble wasteland of bombed homes, shops and churches, it seemed almost impossible that the area would ever recover. Despite the horror of those days, Vittoriosa gradually rose from the ashes to become stronger than ever. Fort St Angelo lies at the very tip of the city.

It guards the Grand Harbour and was used to provide safety to the inhabitants of the area, especially during raids by enemy invaders. In the 19th century, the Royal Navy adopted the fort as its Mediterranean headquarters, first naming it HMS Egmont and then HMS St Angelo.

Today, the fort is open every day to the public and is looked after by Heritage Malta.

Do you love Vittoriosa? Were you stationed at HMS St Angelo? We would love to hear your stories.

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