AT THE GRANDMASTER’S PALACE
You may have already seen the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace in London or the Evzones soldiers’ Changing of the Guard in their skirts and shoes with pompoms at the Hellenic parliament in Athens. The military ceremony is famous worldwide due to its formal and often spectacular nature. This tradition also lives on in Valletta!
The show is well worth the visit. Every last Friday of the month in St George’s square, in front of the Grandmaster’s Palace, Valletta puts on its military performance. Built at the end of the 16th century following the Great Siege of Malta by the Ottomans, the Grandmaster’s Palace was, as its name suggests, the home of the grand masters of the Order of Malta. This religious and military order was expelled from Rhodes and offered the island of Malta by Charles Quint in 1522.
Today, the Order of Malta is a charitable organisation and the knights have long since put down their halberds. But the Palace is still the official office of the President of Malta. It’s therefore not very surprising that the age-old tradition of the Changing of the Guard lives on and is popular with locals and tourists.
The parade starts at 10:30, with the Armed Forces of Malta band marching down Republic Street to the Palace, where the old guard is replaced. After the troops have swapped positions, the band marches in the square for about 45 minutes, blowing you away. An unmissable and memorable spectacle!