Les Auberges de Chevaliers à La Valette

Faire LIEN vers page pour chacune

Toutes sous : https://castles.today/castles/castles/malta/

« The rich history of Malta that dates back a few thousand years is undoubtedly reflected in the wonderful architecture of very old cities. The knights of the mysterious Order of Malta contributed greatly to this architecture. Most precisely, this knightly legacy is reflected in majestic Maltese castles, strongholds and palaces that can be found practically at every turn when walking along the streets of Valetta, the most popular Maltese city. In the 16th century an entire complex of Baroque castles was constructed there, at first they were to serve as knightly taverns or manor houses for knights who did not have their own house on the island. You could easily deduce from the names of these castles-taverns which countries knights came from. For example, Auberge de Castille was for knights from Portugal, Castile and León; while the Auberge d’Italie was for inhabitants from Italy. The Grandmaster’s Palace is very popular among tourists, it used to be a residence of the Grand Master of the Order of Malta, and today this is the Office of the President of Malta. You can also visit the Palace Armoury including a rich collection of medieval armour and weapons.


The current Auberge de Provence is to be found in Republic Street in Valletta, right at the heart of the capital. Designed and built under the direction of Girolamo Cassar between 1571 and 1574, it housed the group of the Knights of Saint John belonging to the langue of Provence. The French, who accounted for two-thirds of all the Knights of Saint John, traditionally maintained three Auberges within the Order, the Auberge de Provence, the Auberge de France, and the Auberge d’Auvergne. Unfortunately, these last two were completely destroyed during World War II.

Originally, the first Auberge de Provence, like the other Auberges, was built in Birgu, and shared a façade with the Auberge d’Auvergne. Later, these two Auberges were both rebuilt as separate and larger structures and relocated within the city of Valletta.

The architect Girolamo Cassar, who was assigned to build all the important buildings in Valletta at the time, embossed the façade of this Auberge with his usual Mannerist style, however when compared to other Auberges, the Auberge de Provence has some of the best Baroque architecture in Malta. It is mostly known for the Grand Salon on the top floor, with its richly painted walls and wooden beamed ceiling, attributed to Italian artist Niccolo Nasoni. This was used by the Knights as a hall to negotiate important business, as well as a banqueting salon where the Knights feasted seated on long tables, according to seniority.

In 1638, the Auberge de Provence was refurbished and enlarged extensively. This work is attributed to the architect Mederico Blondel, who added a new wing to the building, which took the place of the small square in front of the original façade. The current façade was instead built along the alignment of the street. It has pronounced rusticated quoins incorporating alternating bands of protruding rounded and square sections.

When Napoleon expelled the Knights from Malta in 1798, the Auberge was vacated. It was later occupied by the British and used as a military barracks, as well as converted into ‘The Thorn’s Hotel’ in the early 1800s. In 1826, it was leased to what was known as the Malta Union Club, which was founded by certain officers and civilians, and which was then the hub of Malta’s social life. Among the Honorary Members of the period, one can find the names of Sir Walter Scott and Benjamin Disraeli. In 1903, the whole of the Auberge de Provence was leased by the Club for 99 years, however the lease held on only until 1955, when it was surrendered to the Malta Government at its request.

In 1958, the Auberge was officially presented and launched as Malta’s National Museum.

What can you see?

At present, one can find prehistoric exhibits and artefacts from the Maltese islands as old as 5200BC, as well as displays of tomb furniture dating from the Punic and Roman periods. The Grand Salon on the second floor holds temporary exhibitions of particular national interest.





The Auberge de Castille is to be found in Castille Square in the Maltese capital city of Valletta. It is close to the Saint James Cavalier Centre for Learning and Creativity, the Malta Stock Exchange and the Upper Barrakka Gardens. The Auberge is situated at the highest point of Valletta, and overlooks Floriana and the harbour area. It originally housed the Knights of Saint John belonging to the Langues of Castile, León and Portugal, who were responsible for the defence of part of the fortifications of Valletta close to the Auberge, known as the Bastion of Saint Barbara.

History :

In the beginning, the wooden building which served as the Auberge was an improvised structure in Birgu, however in 1569 the Knights decided to create a stately Auberge in Valletta. They acquired a site, referred to as the Casa Grande in Saint Paul Street. This house was big enough to accommodate the Head of the Langue, called the Pilier, and a limited number of knights, and it served as the Auberge from 1571 to 1573, when it was decided that a bigger building was needed. The site chosen for the building which today is known as the Auberge de Castille, was 4,100 metres square and it was acquired by the Langue in 1569. The Maltese architect Girolamo Cassar, a student of Francesco Laparelli, was chosen to design it. Girolamo Cassar had a matured Mannerist style, which is very evident in the pilasters between the fenestrations. The main entrance was placed on a level higher than the street level to give the place a sense of nobility and is flanked by five decorated windows on each side.

The Auberge was extensively reconstructed by the architect Andrea Belli between 1741 and 1745, during the Grand-Mastership of Manuel Pinto de Fonseca, after the Council of the Order had decided that it wanted to transform the military character of the Auberge into something more original and prestigious. The new flamboyant Baroque style was adopted. The Grand Master’s symbol of the crescent moon is frequently displayed throughout the building, while his Coat of Arms and bust are the main decorations of the central window. The Coat of Arms of the Langues of Spain and Portugal are also carved on the façade. In 1791, the main door was enlarged, and a large staircase for the parapet was constructed. (more)

The Hospitaller Order of St John in Malta

The monastic hospitaller Order of the Knights of Saint John, also known as the Knights Hospitallers, was originally established in 1085 as a community of monks responsible for tending the sick at the Hospital of St. John in Jerusalem, during the crusades. They later evolved into a military order, defending crusader territory in the Holy Lands and safeguarding the perilous routes taken by medieval pilgrims. Following the conquest of the Holy Land by Islamic forces, the Order operated from Rhodes, over which it was sovereign, and later from Malta where it administered a vassal state under the Spanish viceroy of Sicily. (more)

The Auberge de Castille is not open to the public, except for specific occasions or celebrations, which usually take place in the courtyard. There is also an underground rock-hewn World War 2 system of tunnels which links this Auberge to the Auberge d’Italie, and which is at times open to the public on special commemorations. Legend says that there is an underground city made up of these underground passages, with theories maintaining that this network used to link all the eight Auberges.







The Auberge d’Italie is one of the finest buildings in Valletta. This Auberge has a symmetrical façade, is rectangular in plan, and is surrounded by streets on three sides – Merchant’s Street, its main entrance, as well as Zachary Street, and Melita Street. It housed the Italian langue, composed of seven Grand Priories; Rome, Lombardy, Venice, Barletta, Capua, Pisa and Messina.

Photo façade : https://castles.today/en/gallery/page/764/

The Auberge d’Italie, residence of the Italian Knights, was among the first to be built. The Italian langue was quite prominent mostly because of the geographical proximity between Malta and Italy, as well as because of the Presence of the Pope, who at the time, wielded considerable political and economical power.

The current Auberge d’Italie was the second structure so-named to be built, since the first one was constructed in 1570 and was situated in Saint George Square, in Valletta. This was found to be too small in size and was integrated into another building a year later. The second, and current, Auberge was built in Strada San Giacomo, now Merchant’s Street, under the direction of architect Girolamo Cassar. Construction started in 1574 – the plan comprised a central courtyard around which rooms and halls were to be built. In 1576, the Italian langue began erecting its own chapel within the Auberge, as well. Originally the Auberge had only one storey, however the Knights decided to enlarge the building further in 1582, adding a second one. Cassar built the Auberge in his typical Mannerist style, however he varied the design of the corner rustications, as well as the mezzanine window frames, to reflect typical features of Italian renaissance architecture. In 1680, the whole façade on the side of Merchant’s Street was remodelled by Mederico Blondel, though features of Cassar’s rustications, as well as the cornice, were retained.

The pilier or Chief of the Italian Knights was traditionally the Grand Admiral of the Order of the Knights of Saint John, commanding the fleet, the arsenals, the naval officers, the troops, the crews, and all maritime affairs.

As with most buildings in Valletta, the Auberge d’Italie had various occupants after the departure of the Knights in 1798. When the French occupied the islands, it became the French Military Command. Under the British administration, it was utilised as a Corps Headquarters, as well as an Officers’ Mess until the 1920’s, when it started to house Malta’s Museum of Archaeology. During World War II, the Auberge was severely damaged, and after the war a significant part of the building had to be reconstructed. In 1956 the Auberge was being used by the Department of Museums as a School of Art, while in 1971, extensive works were carried out to accommodate the Posts and Telephones Department. Since then, it has also housed the Water and Electricity Department, the Agricultural Department, and the Central Office of Statistics.

Today,The Auberge d’Italie comprises the Offices of the Maltese Ministry for Tourism.

Utiliser pour autre place dans VLT : Parts of it are sporadically open to the public, as Maltese and international artists use its courtyard as well as a number of other spaces to mount exhibits and artworks.








Aragon – La seule restée proche de son xxx d’origine

« http://www.cityofvalletta.org/content.aspx?id=46679
built by Girolamo Cassar, and one of only two which have survived in their original condition. Though externally plain, it contains fine Renaissance rooms.
The building also housed the Prime Minister’s residence and still contains the historic table on which Malta’s independence was drafted out.
+ mettre photo aragon intérieur. trouvée dans mon stock ou dans adresse ci-desosus : castles.today

https://castles.today/en/castles/castles/malta/valleta-(auberge-d%E2%80%99aragon)/ : « The Auberge d’Aragon, which used to house the Knights pertaining to the langues of Aragon and Navarre, is situated in Archbishop Street on the Marsamxett Harbour side. Designed by Girolamo Cassar in 1571, it is the oldest surviving Auberge in Valletta, since it has retained its original design by Cassar, as it was not refurbished in the 18th century like the other Auberges. – HISOTIRY :


The Auberge d’Aragon was planned and designed by Cassar soon after the laying of the foundation stone of the capital city of Valletta in 1566. It is a one-storey building, having a rectangular plan with a central courtyard surrounded by asymmetrically placed interconnecting rooms. The entrance opens to an entrance hall with a coffered barrel-vault. When compared to the other Auberges, this structure is quite simple, the only decorations on the façade being the corner rustications and the rather plain roof cornice. This could be because the present Auberge d’Aragon was never meant to be permanent – it was to be used as a temporary accommodation by the Spanish Knights, as a larger hostel was being planned closer to the centre of Valletta. In fact the building was quite small for the standards of the Order, and the Knights attached to this particular langue mostly lived in nearby properties.

When the French invaded Malta and the Knights left, the French soldiers replaced them at the Auberge as well. Later, it was the turn of the British to appropriate themselves of the building, which was requisitioned by the Quartermaster and let in portions to various tenants, as well as serving as a government printing press between 1822 and 1824.

In 1842, George Tomlinson, Lord Bishop of Gibraltar, took residence at the Auberge and changed its name to ‘Gibraltar House’. At this time, the front steps of the Auberge were removed to be replaced by a Doric portico, perhaps as an attempt to embellish the austere façade.

In 1921, the Auberge was turned into a school, and following the 1924 elections, the Auberge d’Aragon became the official seat of the Prime Minister of Malta, Sir Ugo P. Mifsud. From 1647 to 1971, four more Prime Ministers were to use this Auberge as their office, starting with Sir Paul Boffa, followed by Dr Enrico Mizzi, Dr Giorgio Borg Olivier and Mr Dom. Mintoff. It was Dr Borg Olivier who successfully negotiated sovereign Independence for the Maltese Islands, and the historic table upon which this was officially discussed is still to be found in the old refectory of the Auberge.

After Dom Mintoff moved the Office of the Prime Minister to the Auberge de Castille in 1972, Ms Agatha Barbara, who eventually became Malta’s first woman President, started using the Auberge d’Aragon as the premises for the Ministry of Education and Culture. Later, the Auberge also housed the Ministry for Economic Services, and in 2004 it became the office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Justice and Home Affairs.

As of 2013, this Auberge has become the Ministry for EU Affairs and Implementation of the Electoral Manifesto.




The Auberge de Baviére, the last Auberge to be built in Valletta, is situated in Saint Sebastian Street, next to the Bastion of Saint Sebastian overlooking Marsamxett Harbour, and near to the War Museum and Fort Saint Elmo. It was built at the end of the 17th century and housed the Knights belonging to the Anglo-Bavarian langue.

The eighth Auberge was built in 1696 as a private palace by Fra Gaspare Carniero, Bali of Acre, on the site of an old lime-kiln. The building was designed by the Maltese architect Carlo Gimach, who was a personal friend of Carniero. The structure is one of the last examples of austere and staid architecture of the century, being, unlike the other Auberges, quite plain.

Between 1702 and 1719, the Palace was rented to Fr Ottavio Zondadari, Pope Alexander VII’s nephew, who became Grand Master in 1720 and who continued to use it as his residence till his death in 1722. In 1782, the Elector of Bavaria bought the Palazzo for 20,000 scudi, and began to use it to house the newly formed Anglo-Bavarian langue. The Anglo-Bavarian Knights were entrusted with the defence of Saint Lazarus Bastion and their Chief was the Commander of Cavalry and the Coast Guard.

The Anglo-Bavarian Knights left Malta with the rest of the Order in 1798, and in 1824, the building was handed over to the British Military Authorities, who returned it to the Civil Government after Malta was granted self-governance in 1921.

It has been used as a school and more recently, to house various government departments and entities. The Land Department was situated in the building between 1979 and 1997, after which is was used as the corporate base of the Government Property Department. In 2001, an extensive rehabilitation project was undertaken to make the building more suitable for the functioning needs of the Government Property Division.

Being a functioning government building, the Auberge is not accessible to the public.



Les auberges de La valette sur une carte :


The Hospitaller Order of St John in Malta

The monastic hospitaller Order of the Knights of Saint John, also known as the Knights Hospitallers, was originally established in 1085 as a community of monks responsible for tending the sick at the Hospital of St. John in Jerusalem, during the crusades. They later evolved into a military order, defending crusader territory in the Holy Lands and safeguarding the perilous routes taken by medieval pilgrims. Following the conquest of the Holy Land by Islamic forces, the Order operated from Rhodes, over which it was sovereign, and later from Malta where it administered a vassal state under the Spanish viceroy of Sicily. (more)

Text: Melisande Aquilina