This public garden, known locally as Il-Barrakka ta’ Fuq and Il-Barrakka t’Isfel, is set in two parts consisting of the Upper Barrakka Gardens and Lower Barrakka Gardens. This a spot that everyone who is visiting Valletta should come to.
Malta is unique, because it has been influenced by the many different culutres that have passed through here throughout history. As a result, the view from the Barrakka Gardens offers a historic view of Malta that you cannot get anywhere else.
Both levels offer a panoramic view of the Grand Harbour and the shipyard and the lower-lying parts the capital. It also remains the highest point of the city’s fortress, and provides the best view of the Three Cities in Malta.
The Three Cities is a blanket term the three fortified cities of Birgu, Senglea and Cospicua.
Birgu is the oldest of the Three Cities, and has existed since the Middle Ages. Senglea and Cospicua, the other two cities, were both established by the Order of Saint John in the 16th and 17th centuries. They can be seen directly across from the gardens. Below is a view of the city of Valletta as well as the Grand Harbor.
An arcade frames the garden on the side facing the sea. These beautiful terraced arches were built in 1661 by the Italian knight Fra Flaminio Balbiani. Originally they were roofed, but this was removed in 1775 following the Rising of the Priests.
The upper tier the gardens of located off of St. Peter & Paul Bastion, was built in the 1560s. The bastion’s lower tier contains the Saluting Battery. You can see the cannons in the photo below.
The Three Cities are enclosed by the Cottonera Lines, along with several other fortifications. The term Cottonera is synonymous with the Three Cities, although it is sometimes taken to also include the nearby town of Kalkara. This is essentially a border that describes the perimeter of this entire area.
One thing is for sure and that is that the Upper and Lower Barrakka gardens are steeped in history. This is evident not only through the many transformations that have taken place here, but the many changes that Valletta and the Three Cities have undergone.