The Malta Independent 23 January 2020, Thursday

Then and now: The Three Cities through the ages

Albert Galea Tuesday, 10 September 2019, 09:53 Last update: about 5 months ago

Having been in existence long before Valletta, the Three Cities were for a long time the most significant hives of activity in the country. Vittoriosa was for a period Malta’s capital when the Order of St. John moved into Malta, while Cospicua was a centre for industry during the British period through the dockyards which, at their height, employed some 14,000 people – 20% of the Maltese working population.

Today things have, however changed.  Malta’s capital became Valletta soon after the Great Siege of 1565 while the dockyards are far from the industrial centres that they were in the twentieth century, having been privatised in 2010. The vista from across the water looking over where one of the main areas of the dockyards once was has long changed, as has the vista looking towards Vittoriosa’s seafront, with yachts now dominating the marina.


The effect that the Second World War had on the area is also somewhat present – the area was hit hard during the blitz due to its proximity to Malta’s key naval facilities, leading to widespread damage.  One part of Vittoriosa which was severely damaged was its Clock Tower, which loomed over Victory Square.  Built during the Middle Ages and used as a watchtower during the Great Siege of 1565, the tower was destroyed by bombs in April 1942.  Despite much debate as to whether it should be rebuilt or not, nothing has materialised thus far, and Vittoriosa’s square thus remains tower-less. 

Photos: Alenka Falzon/The Malta Independent archives

The docks - Cottonera

Clock Tower -  Vittoriosa


Senglea Creek

  • don't miss