Around the back of the Grand Masters Palace, almost hidden away on Merchants Street in Valletta, can be found The Palace Armoury. This museum contains all original weapons of war from the period of the Knights.
In its current architectural structure, the Palace Armoury dates back to the mid 18th century and Grand Master Emanuel Pinto da Fonseca (1741-1773) when the order maintained weapons for around 25,000 soldiers. When Napoleon’s troops invaded in 1798 they looted much of the islands treasures and took them back to France, where they remain to this day.
In 1900 Sir Guy Francis Laking was invited by the Governor of Malta to catalogue the remaining items, which was published under the title A Catalogue of the Armour and Arms in the Armoury of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem”. The Palace Armoury displays a huge number of the over 5000 items covering the the early years of the Knights in Malta, around the time of The Great Siege in 1565. Additionally there are suits of armour which were owned by two Grand Masters, Alof de Wignacourt (1601-1622) and Martin Garzes (1595-1601).
A UNESCO report described the Palace Armoury as being “among the most valuable historic monuments of European culture” and that very few armouries “boast of having collections housed in original buildings”.
Monday to Sunday between 0900 hrs and 1700 hrs
24, 25 & 31 December, 1 January, Good Friday
Adults (18 – 59 years): €8.00
Children, Senior Citizens (60 years and over): €5.00
Children (6 -11 years): €4.00
Infants (1 -5 years): Free