Visiting St. John’s Co-Cathedral

If there is one church that you have to visit during your visit to Valletta, then let it be this one! St. John’s  Cathedral is THE architectural jewel in Valletta and most certainly the place that should be on top of your list of places to visit in Malta. It encompasses a mixture of complex architecture and advanced artistic talent. With its carved stone wall designs, side altars, golden painted ceilings, and Caravaggio’s true gem painting – Beheading of St. John the Baptist – this church is a must-see once in Valletta.

“St. John’s Cathedral in Malta is the fine exhibition of art, architecture, and sculptures”

Details of St Johns Cathedral golden wall carvings

Nestled in the center of Valetta, St. John’s Cathedral is a sacred place for religious worshipers, and architectural admirers. Finished in the second part of the 16th century this was initially supposed to be a church for the Knights of St. John who contributed greatly to enrich this place of worship with the best works of art. The floor is an exhibit in itself – an array of elaborate marble tombstones crafted in such a way that creates a unique pathway to walk on.

St. John’s Co-Cathedral was initially named, in the Italian common language of the time, as Chiesa Conventuale di San Giovanni Battista.

The painting depicting The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist (1608) by Caravaggio is the most famous piece of art in the church. Considered one of Caravaggio’s masterpieces – the largest canvas he ever painted and the only of his paintings signed by him – the canvas is displayed in the Oratory for which it was painted.

After an hour of wandering around the church, stopping every now and then to admire the paintings and altars, we decided it was time to head back to the main square for some iced frappe. It was a hot, humid day and we found consolidation in the thought that there was a bit of a breeze under the big umbrellas in the outdoors area of cafe Cordina – one of the oldest Cafes in Valletta!

I went for a traditional Maltese iced coffee – aniseed & clovers flavoured, strong coffee – whilst he had an espresso.

Have you ever been to Valletta? Which was your most favourite place?

Anastasia

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