Culture
7,000 years of history: Discover Malta’s fascinating past with The Malta Experience in the heart of the Capital
A truly unique experience in just 45 minutes!

Rachel Vella

When travelling to a country with around 7,000 years of history, it serves well to discover the milestones that shaped the country’s journey through the ages. Knowing the historical highlights will help determine what interests you most and decide where to visit next. So, what’s the quickest and most informative way to get the lowdown?

Start your discovery of the country by heading to the furthest edge of Malta’s capital, Valletta, and visiting The Malta Experience, which reveals Malta’s history in a presentation like no other. From prehistory, to the Knights of St John, to the British rule and Malta’s struggles during World War II, the story unfolds on a large panoramic screen, accompanied by an outstanding soundtrack and informative commentary. What’s more, this experience can be enjoyed in 17 languages, with a viewer’s headset.

The Malta Experience

The Malta Experience is situated within the thick walls of the Mediterranean Conference Centre, which enjoys breath-taking views of Malta’s magnificent Grand Harbour. This majestic building, formally known as the Sacra Infermeria, was built as a hospital by the Knights of St John in the 16th century. Nowadays, apart from being a tourist attraction, it is also home to some of the biggest conferences, exhibitions and theatre productions that are held on the island.

Once inside the purposely designed theatre, originally built in the 1980s but which has undergone numerous updates to offer the best quality using the latest technologies, the audience is taken back to prehistoric Malta and Gozo, and introduced to the first settlers and the Neolithic temples that they built. From there on, the audience enjoys an engaging and entertaining journey through time, discovering wave after wave of invaders and would-be or eventual colonisers.

The Malta Experience

Enriching this presentation are highlights describing the Phoenicians, the Romans, St Paul’s dramatic arrival to Malta and the subsequent spread of Christianity, the Arabs and the Normans, and of course the 250-year rule of the Knights of St John, with a particular feature describing the events of the Great Siege of 1565, followed by the founding and building of Valletta. The story continues with the two-year French occupation and takes the audience through the imposition of British rule, also highlighting the bravery and endurance of the Maltese population during World War II who experienced extensive bombings and mass starvation, earning the country the title of ‘The George Cross Island’.

All in all, this 45-minute experience provides insight not just into the island’s history, but also its culture and heritage, as it reveals how the influence of the various rulers that occupied the country led to a unique blend of traditions and customs that are evident and very much alive to this day.

The Malta Experience

Following the audio-visual experience, visitors can revel in the splendour and grandeur of the Sacra Infermeria, with a tour narrated by highly knowledgeable guides that immerses the visitors in the rich history of the grand building, including the Holy Infirmary’s dungeons. Apart from being an architectural landmark, this building has seen over 400 years of vivid human history as generations of patients have passed through its doors. The ancient walls have witnessed triumph and tragedy, selfless care and unspeakable suffering, medical innovation and sad decay, and it’s as though the very fabric of the place is imbued with the ghosts of centuries past.

Finish off this fantastic historical experience, with a memento from the gift shop, a coffee or even lunch in the sun on the restaurant’s terrace, whilst you plan which cultural sites to visit next. Situated on the bastions, St Elmo’s Café & Bistro offers anything from hot drinks to alcoholic beverages, snacks and scrumptious desserts, with choices to tickle anyone’s taste buds.

The Malta Experience

When can you revel in this experience?

Several shows a day are screened between Monday and Saturday, and the entire experience costs €16 per adult and €6 per child, with a student discount available for those in possession of a student card (excluding any food, beverages or souvenirs). Click here for more information or to book your tickets

16th April 2023


Rachel Vella
Written by
Rachel Vella
Rachel lives for art and culture. Coming from a strong theatrical and dance background, she also has experience in journalism, media and marketing. If she isn’t writing, you’ll either find Rachel belting out a high note, or with a script or book in hand.

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