Virtual tour of Grand Harbour. Panorama of Grand Harbour. Maps, travel, photos, videos.

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Grand Harbour

POI: 35.895000, 14.520556
The Grand Harbour (Maltese: il-Port il-Kbir), also known as the Port of Valletta, is a natural harbour on the island of Malta. It has been used as a harbour since at least Phoenician times. The natural harbour has been greatly improved with extensive docks and wharves, and has been massively fortified.
The harbour mouth faces north east and is bounded to the north by Saint Elmo Point and further sheltered by an isolated breakwater and is bounded to the south by Ricasoli Point. Its north west shore is formed by the Sciberras peninsula, which is largely covered by the city of Valletta and its suburb Floriana. This peninsula also divides Grand Harbour from a second parallel natural harbour, Marsamxett Harbour. The main waterway of Grand Harbour continues inland almost to Marsa. The south eastern shore of the harbour is formed by a number of inlets and headlands, principally Rinella Creek, Kalkara Creek, Dockyard Creek, and French Creek, which are covered by Kalkara and the Three Cities: Cospicua, Vittoriosa, and Senglea. The harbour has been described as Malta's greatest geographic asset. With its partner harbour of Marsamxett, Grand Harbour lies at the centre of gently rising ground. Development has grown up all around the twin harbours and up the slopes so that the whole bowl is effectively one large conurbation. Much of Malta's population lives within a three kilometer radius of Floriana. This is now one of the most densely populated areas in Europe. The harbours and the surrounding areas make up Malta's Northern and Southern Harbour Districts. Together, these districts contain 27 of 68 local councils. They have a population of 213,722 which make up over 47% of the total population of the Maltese islands.
The Maltese islands have a long history, mainly due to its strategic location and natural harbours, mainly the Grand Harbour as well as Marsamxett. The Grand Harbour has in fact been used since prehistoric times. Megalithic remains have been found on the shores of the Grand Harbour. The Kordin Temples, the earliest of which date back to around 3700 BC, overlooked the harbour from Corradino Heights. Another megalithic structure possibly existed underwater off Fort Saint Angelo, but this can no longer be seen. Punic and Roman remains were also found on the shores of the harbour. By the 12th and 13th centuries, the Castrum Maris had been built in what is now Birgu. It might have been built instead of ancient buildings, possibly Phoenician or Roman temples, or an Arab fortress. In 1283, the Battle of Malta was fought at the entrance of the Grand Harbour. Aragonese forces defeated a larger Angevin force and captured 10 galleys. The Grand Harbour was the base for the Order of Saint John for 268 years, from 1530 to 1798. They settled in the city of Birgu and improved its fortifications, including rebuilding the Castrum Maris as Fort Saint Angelo. In July 1551, Barbary corsairs and Ottoman forces raided Malta. They landed...   ... (English)
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