The capital of Malta since the 16th century, Valletta lies on Malta’s North East Coast, in the denser part of the island. As capital cities go it is relatively modern, being built at the time of the Knights of the Order of St John, after the Great Siege of Malta.
The fortifications were started in 1566 by Grand Master Jean Parisot de la Valette and 3 years later the fortifications were almost complete. Valletta was built using a grid layout, with Republic Street and Merchant Street being the main roads, running from City Gate and Fort Elmo. Today these are the hub of commercial and retail activity on the island, paralleled only by the streets of Sliema.