Valletta is the capital city of Malta. The whole city was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980.
The official name the Order of Saint John gave to the city was Humilissima Civitas Valletta — a city bound to humility. However, with the building of bastions, curtains and ravelins, along with the beauty of the baroque buildings along its streets, it became known as Superbissima — 'Most Proud', amongst the ruling houses of Europe. In Maltese it is colloquially known as Il-Belt, simply meaning "The City".
Benjamin Disraeli visited Valletta in August 1830, on the recommendation of his friend, Lord Byron.
He described Valletta as "a city of palaces built by gentlemen for gentlemen", and remarked that "Valletta, equals in its noble architecture, if it does not excel, any capital in Europe".
The Palace of the Grandmasters, now used as the President's Palace and St John's Co Cathedral are just a few of the marvels of this city.
The foundation stone of Valletta was laid by the Grandmaster of the Order of Saint John, Jean Parisot de la Valette, on 28 March 1566; The Order (which was the long-time ruler of the city and the island) decided to found a new city on the Xiberras peninsula just after the end of the Siege of Malta in 1565, so as to fortify the Order's position in Malta, effectively binding the Knights to the island. The city was designed by Francesco Laparelli, while many of the most important buildings were built by Gerolamo Cassar.
Valletta, hence, is an urban area which boasts many buildings from the 16th century and onwards, but most of them were built during the time of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem (the Knights Hospitaller, or Knights of Malta).
The Valletta peninsula, which is fed by the two natural harbours of Marsamxett and the Grand Harbour, is Malta's major port, with unloading quays at Marsa; a cruise-liner terminal has been built recently in the Grand Harbour, along the old sea-wall of the duty free stores built by Grandmaster Manuel Pinto de Fonseca.