The Three Cities are of historical importance to Malta, having been strongholds for the Knights of the Order of St. John, during their rule over the Maltese islands (1530 – 1798 AD). The Three Cities is a common name for a collection of neighbouring towns, namely Vittoriosa (also known as Birgu), Senglea (also known as Isla) and Cospicua (also known as Bormla). This area is largely unspoilt and, like most of the region including Valletta, still boasts several forts and auberges built by the Knights, most of which have been maintained and restored, adding to the character of this region.
Vittoriosa was the home of the Knights of St John and it is believed that most of the architecture that was built prior to the 16th century was torn down and replaced. Most of the buildings and structures that were built by the Knights still remain despite two World Wars. Most of the draw of this region comes from Fort St Angelo, and an area of Vittoriosa called the Collacchio. This area is mostly for pedestrians, and features most of the palaces built by the Knights.
Here one also finds the popular Vittoriosa Waterfront where there are several restaurants and wine bars overlooking the harbour, as well as former Palace of the General of the Galleys which is now a luxurious casino. Looking for a quick visit to Malta’s capital city? A romantic boat ride across Grand Harbour gets you right at Valletta’s doorstep.
Senglea was built to house the entire population of the town in times of war. It suffered heavy damage in the siege of 1565 and the Second World War. Nonetheless, today the town is very much still standing and boasts some beautiful attractions for tourists, as well as being a good place to live and work in.
Despite the damage from the Second World War, most of the town kept its character of years gone by. This gives it a very historical feel, and it also offers locals and tourists splendid views from the Gardjola or watch tower, around which one can find The Gardjola Gardens.
Every September the 8th(a public holiday in Malta – Victory Day), the town celebrates the defeat of the Ottoman forces and the surrender of Italy to British forces in 1943. As a tradition, a regatta (boat races) is held in Grand Harbour and is a popularly visited event by locals and tourists alike.
Much of Cospicua has been converted to dry docks and is very industrial. This is slowly being reversed however. Despite its industrial transformation the region still has signs of a rich history and offers people plenty of residences for relocation.
The Three Cities are a treasure trove for anyone looking to live in a place that has preserved Malta’s history and offers some splendid views of Grand Harbour, facing Valletta’s East side. Despite retaining the old architecture, these cities are very much alive. One can find all sorts of shops, restaurants, casino, yacht marina, and work here.