Culture
Check out these photos of the Great Siege Monument’s inauguration almost 100 years ago
The monument was inaugurated on 8th May 1927.

Emma Galea

Many of us frequently walk past the Great Siege Monument right in front of Valletta’s law courts – but what’s the story behind this decades-old memorial?

For starters, the monument consists of three bronze statues, symbolising faith, fortitude, and civilisation. These are three qualities attributed to Malta and the Maltese people during the Great Siege of 1565.

This iconic memorial was sculpted by none other than Antonio Sciortino – a Maltese artist that went on to be extremely successful both locally and internationally.

Sciortino also served as director at the British Academy of Arts in Rome, and it’s in this Italian city that the Great Siege monument was sculpted.

The historic monument was inaugurated on 8th May 1927 – an event that had many political implications…

At the time, Malta was in the midst of its language debate, wherein different parties fought for different languages to be made the country’s official language.

This conflict was perfectly represented through the speeches made at the inauguration. The Chief of Justice, Arturo Mercieca, carried out his speech in Italian, since Italian was the official language of the courts. Poet and philosopher Anastasio Cuschieri, on the other hand, deliver a speech in Maltese.

The speeches were all delivered in the presence of British Lieutenant-Governor Sir Thomas Alexander Vans Best. As you can imagine the tensions at the inauguration were high.

Years later, the historical monument appeared on Maltese issued stamps and was even featured on the 50 Lira cents coin from 1972-1986.

Valletta is undoubtedly a city full of rich history!

12th January 2022


Emma Galea
Written by
Emma Galea
Emma is a Gozitan writer who loves all things related to English literature and history. When not busy studying or writing you will either find her immersed in a fictional book or at the cinema trying to watch as my films as she possibly can!

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