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National Library of Malta, Valletta

4.2
#27 of 71 in Things to do in Valletta
Library Traveler Resource
The National Library of Malta, often known as the Bibliotheca, is a reference library in Republic Square, Valletta, Malta. It was founded by Grand Master Emmanuel de Rohan-Polduc in 1776 out of the collections of the knight Louis Guérin de Tencin. It has been a legal deposit library since 1925, and it has the largest collection of Melitensia along with that of the University of Malta. The library also contains the archives of the Order of St. John, the Università of Mdina and the Università of Valletta.The library is housed in a late 18th-century neoclassical building in the city centre, close to the Grandmaster's Palace.HistoryThe origins of the National Library of Malta go back to 1555, when Grand Master Claude de la Sengle decreed that all books belonging to deceased members of the Order of St. John are to be passed to the Order's treasury.In 1760, Louis Guérin de Tencin, the Bailiff Grand Cross of the Order, purchased a collection of 9700 books which had belonged to Joaquín Fernández de Portocarrero for 7000 scudi. A year later, he opened a public library in a building known as Il Forfantone in Valletta, containing books from his own library as well as Portocarrero's collection, the library of Comm. Sainte-Jay (which was previously kept at the sacristy of the Conventual Church of St. John), and books donated by members of the Order. De Tencin appointed Giovanni Pietro Francesco Agius de Soldanis as librarian, and paid his salary himself. De Tencin died in 1766 before managing to secure funds for maintaining the library.
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Where to stay in Valletta

The small city of Valetta offers fewer lodging options than some of Malta's larger cities, but accommodations include everything from upscale hotels to less-expensive guesthouses. Stay in the city center at one of several old-fashioned hotels to be in close proximity to sights like St. Johns Co-Cathedral, the Presidential Palace, multiple museums, and a wide variety of restaurants. One fun option involves renting traditional Valletta houses that have been converted into rental properties and date back to the time of the Knights of Malta. Smaller bed and breakfasts are dispersed throughout the city. Book well in advance to avoid high prices.
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4.2
  • A collection ofvery important manuscripts, documents and books dating back to te time of the Knights of St. John. Not to be missed when visiting Malta  more »
  • Location and architecture of this place is a great representation of just how important role education had, and still has, in Malta. In front of the entrance is very striking monument to Queen Victori...  more »
  • This place is exquisite! The books date so far back and it's set in such a beautiful room. Great preservation work. I just wish they sold postcards of the library!  more »
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  • I think you need to be very interested in the history of Malta to appreciate this library. I love libraries in general and thought it was a regular library, but it's not. The entrance staff could have been more friendly also.
  • Beautiful building and many bars, seats around.
  • Amazing heritage place, it seems to go back hundreds years. Everything is history here
  • A perfect ambience for historical research
  • Nice place :)