Valletta’s Republic Street
- Jul 24, 2021
...known for its vibrant identity!
Any person who lives in Malta will tell you that Republic Street is one of Malta’s most iconic streets. The 1-kilometre-long street is a cultural, commercial and judicial hub that’s known for its vibrant identity and quintessentially Mediterranean atmosphere.
A Brief History
After the Knights of St John won the Great Siege of Malta, they received ample amounts of money from the European monarchy to fortify the islands.
The result of this funding was Valletta – Malta’s capital city. Valletta was built on a grid layout, and Republic Street – or Strada San Giorgio (as it was known at the time) – was designed to be the city’s main street.
Over the years, the street was named and re-named multiple times. During the Knights’ era, it was Strada San Giorgio. The French called it Rue Nationale. During the Crown Colony of Malta period, it was renamed Strada Reale. Prime Minister Gerald Strickland and the Brits christened it Kingsway. Its final name – Republic Street or Triq ir-Repubblika (in Maltese) – was the result of Malta’s independence.
Republic Street suffered great architectural losses during World War II, as 3,150 tonnes of bombs were dropped on Valletta. One of its main buildings, the 19th-century era Royal Opera House, was destroyed by Luftwaffe bombers in April 1942.
Republic Street Today
Nowadays, Republic Street is mostly pedestrianised and is Valletta’s political, cultural, social, commercial and legislative hub. It’s home to a number of iconic buildings and squares, including City Gate, Freedom Square, the Maltese Parliament, Republic Square, the Grandmaster’s Palace, Pjazza Teatru Rjal and St George’s Square, to name but a few.
The street is brimming with locals and visitors, who swarm the street quasi-religiously on a daily basis. Its menagerie of quirky characters, shops, street performers, churches, museums and decor continue breathing new life into this ancient street, making it one of the most interesting main streets in Europe.