Palace Square, Valletta , Malta
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday 9:00 - 17:00
- Adults: € 6.00
- Youth: € 4.50
- Children: € 3.00
The Palace Armoury is one of the worlds greatest arms collections housed in their original buildings. Made more important by its historic associations, the Armoury is certainly one of the most visible and tangible symbols of the past glories of the Sovereign Hospitaller, Military Order of Malta. The Palace served as the Order's administrative centre and military headquarters for over 200 years, and was the official residence of all successive Grand Masters until the Knights left Malta in 1798.
What helped the Knights to succeed was their well-stocked, professionally-run, state of the art Armoury. This was transferred to the new Grandmaster's Palace in Valletta when it had been completed in 1604. Today this building is known as the Presidential Palace and the Armoury is still there, albeit in a different room. When the knights were fully operational, the Armoury had sufficient weapons to equip 25,000 men. A considerable percentage was lost however during the French occupation at the end of the 18th century when the light-fingered Napoleonic troops removed them.
Once the British had taken charge in 1900, what was left in the Armoury was catalogued and arranged by Sir Francis Laking, the King's Armourer. He listed some 5,721 pieces and these were all placed in a large hall at the rear of the Palace. That remained their home until 1975 when's the hall was taken over by the Maltese Parliament.
The Armoury moved again to its current venue on the ground floor and what is on display here is a collection of authentic pieces from the time of those famous Knights of Malta - the period before and after the Great Siege.
Highlights include ornate suits of armour, weapons such as pikes, halberds, forks and partisans, bows and arrows, powder flasks, swords and firearms. Also on display are several iron and stone cannonballs, which are thought to be relics of the Great Siege.