Let’s take a tour at National War Museum in Fort Saint Elmo Valletta, Malta
National War Museum one of the top popular places of interest and amongst the most popular museums in Malta. Located in the Lower St. Elmo in Valletta, facing Marsamxett Harbour. It is one of. From 1975 to 2014, it mainly houses a superb collection of items which takes us back to World War I and World War II (prehistoric times).
Artifacts displayed in chronological order, commencing from the early phases of the Bronze Age around 2,500 B.C.
National War Museum represents the important role Malta, and its people played during World War II as well as Malta’s important military role after 1800 under British rule.
The collection recounts the story of events that led the two world wars (First World War and the two years of French Occupation), how they developed and as well as their consequences on both Malta and abroad.
Today, we will tour you inside this prestigious museum and let you see how beautiful the collections are. As I’ve mentioned from the last post:
Malta Tourist Guide in a Budget – What to visit in Valletta.
I said that we had our last tour here and went back home after. Since the National War Museum doesn’t have free access, we have paid for its entrance fee which is 12 Euros per head.
Refurbished National War Museum
Before the refurbished, the museum mainly focused on World War I and World War II. Now, its collections include exhibits ranging from the Bronze Age to 2004. The National War Museum consists of a large vaulted hall: 2 long annexes, one on each side of the hall and 3 smaller rooms.
The left annex largely dedicated to the Royal Navy with various uniforms, equipment, emblems, Malta convoys, and several other related items.
Unbeatable view from the Museum (East part)
Looking back to the Saluting Battery Museum that has one of the best overlooking views of Valletta. I could say that this National War Museum has an inspiring charm when it comes to panoramic views of St. Elmo lighthouse and Breakwater Bridge.
If you have watched the Detective movie in 2017 named Murder on the Orient Express. This specific place came out and featured at the beginning of the film. And yes, the movie was filmed partly in Malta and the United States as well.
The eastern part view of Valletta consists of Ricasoli East Breakwater, Fort St. Angelo, La Guardiola and the Grand Harbour itself.
Unbeatable view from the Museum (West part)
Overlooking the western part of Valletta, we can mainly see Manoel Island. Located to the northwest of Valletta, it appears in Season 1, Episode 9 ‘Baelor’ as the spot where Ned Stark executed after Joffrey commands Ser Ilyn Payne to bring him the traitor’s head.
If you are a huge fan of Game of Thrones like me. Then I invite you to read my guide Top 7 Game of Thrones Filming Locations Guide in Malta.
Tip to remember: Get the most out of the most beautiful glimpse of Valletta, and the rest of the entire island surrounding it. Go on the top of the Museums’ exposition chambers and there you’ll get the best view.
Let’s do the Tour
Strolling at the entrance hall of the National War Museum, I can directly see the enormous canon display. They were a slightly rusty (well, not slightly) but it was pretty cool to see them in real.
According to what I found online the location of this Museum is no other than the Old Drill Hall of Lower Saint Elmo.
The building was originally a gunpowder magazine, that converted into an armory in around 1853. This place is where the Anti-aircraft gun crews trained during World War II.
Get to know about Malta’s History
Entering the first room of exposition, it was an explanation about the history of Malta in general.
During the second Punic war, Malta changed hands and became part of the mighty Roman Empire that led to a period of unrest where it speculated that Malta was subject to vandal attacks.
The Eastern Roman Empire officially recognized as the Byzantines, reconquered Malta in 535 AD. However, this is rarely mentioned in historical documents.
Following a fierce battle between the Arabs and the Byzantines, Malta changed hands again in 870 AD.
For the next 221 years Malta ruled by the Arabs. The Normans, a rising power of the time, won Malta in 1090. These succeeded by other European rulers that also governed the Kingdom of Sicily, namely the Swabians, Angevins, Aragon/Catalans and finally the Spanish.
Malta’s Middle Ages ends in 1530 with the arrival of the Knights of the Order of St. John. Medieval armor and other equipment displayed highlights the complex power struggle emerging in the Mediterranean and in Europe.
Between Christians and Muslims with prominence being given to the Great Siege of Malta in 1565.
The Order of St. John’s rule in Malta brought to an end by the arrival of the French in Malta. Led by none other than the great Napoleon Bonaparte.
The rule of the French did not last long, however, just three months after their arrival. The Maltese rebelled, and with the British help.
Malta got rid of the French invaders. The British took over Malta and transformed it into one of their many colonies.
I was eventually moved by the story of Malta’s life. Every country has its own humble beginnings, and Malta has undergone through a bunch of wars just to become the Malta that it is right now.
The Main Hall
The large main hall at the War Museum in Malta has several important items on a show. Such as the Italian E-Boat, a Bofors anti-aircraft gun, the Willis Jeep ‘Husky that General Eisenhower used during his visit to Malta.
There’s also the Gloster Gladiator ‘Faith’, the George Cross, the Book of Remembrance. On the other hand there’s the illuminated Scroll presented by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and wreckage of a Spitfire and a Messerschmitt Me-109 fighter aircraft recovered from the sea bed.
The photographic panels are also worth examining as they portray the extremely harsh conditions that Malta and its people had to go through during the war.
They show a great deal of damage that caused to Malta and what had to be rebuilt. Other interesting features are the prestigious awards and decorations received by Maltese service men and civilians during World War II. For their bravery and sacrifice that helped Malta through the war.
After minutes of looking around reading and examining the exposition halls. I could say that the National War Museum represents and shows Malta’s important role in WW I, the Inter-War Period, and Malta’s historical role in the Second World War.
Though I could say that my country’s history was also a phenomenal moment of my countrymen. Malta’s has given me a lot of hope, and optimism. Even if we endure a lot now, we can still stand up, and continue to fight like Malta did to get their independence and becoming a Republic.
For Maltese people, the three most important icons of the National War museum: the Gloster Sea Gladiator N5520 FAITH, Roosevelt’s Jeep ‘Husky’ and Malta award for gallantry, the George Cross.
And the most important and interesting piece is the George Cross Medal which was given in 1942 to the whole population of Malta. As recognition for their bravery during the war. This cross now features on the Maltese flag.
1st April till 30th September
Monday to Sunday: 09.00-18.00hrs
Last admission at 17.30hrs
1st October till 31st March
Monday to Sunday: 09.00 – 17.00hrs
Last admission at 16.30hrs
Closed on 24, 25 & 31 December, 1 January & Good Friday
Adults (18 – 59 years): €10.00
Youths (12 – 17 years), Senior Citizens (60 years & over), and Students: €7.50
Children (6 – 11 years): €5.50
Infants (1 – 5 years): Free
Address: Fort St Elmo, Valletta VLT 1741
Tel: +356 21 233088
For Ticket inquiries visit: Heritage Malta
National War Museum