Snapshots of Republic Street

This post is intended for use with the Malta Democracy walking tour and smart learning activities and was originally only available via the Aurasma AR trigger.

Categories: malta-democracy

Snapshots of Republic Street, By Pen Lister. March 4, 2018. Categories: Maltese Democracy Tags: malta

This post contains information about Edith Warton, the name ‘Republic Street’ and Republic Square (Piazza Regina).

Edith Warton

Edith Wharton

In 1888 the 26-year-old American novelist Edith Wharton visited Malta as part of a Mediterranean cruise. Her expectations were somewhat dashed, as her record in The Cruise of the Vanadis (2003) suggests:

The Strada Reale … with its Opera house, its hotels and photograph shops, is provokingly British and modern; one has to wander into the side streets for picturesque effects. The people are dressed in everyday European clothes, and in fact the reign of the prosaic has settled down upon Malta. As to the Street of the Knights, it filled me with an unreasonable disappointment. I had forgotten that the famous Auberges were probably not built until the end of the 16 th or the beginning of the 17 th century, and was needlessly aggrieved by their florid, late Renaissance façades, without beauty of detail or dignity of general effect.

Activity: What does this historical snapshot into Republic Street say about Maltese society then and now?

The name of ‘Republic Street’

The street sign for Republic Street

Triq ir-Repubblika. Frank Vincentz. GFDL/CC BY-SA 3.0. Click to enlarge.

Republic Street (Triq ir-Repubblika) was referred to historically as Strada San Giorgio , Rue de la Republique , Strada Reale and Kingsway.

Where the Streets Have Four Names (Times of Malta, 2015)

Activity: Discuss how the different names of Republic Street relate to the evolution of the democratic process in Malta?

Featured image: Image ‘Triq ir-Repubblika’:

Republic Square (Piazza Regina)

Published March 31, 2018.

Republic Square

The Names of Misrah ir-Repubblika (Republic Square)

Over the time Republic square had the following names:

  • Piazza Tesoreria
  • Piazza dei Cavallieri
  • Piazza Regina
  • Misrah ir-Repubblika (Maltese)

History of Misrah ir-Repubblika

During the knights era it was called Piazza dei Cavalieri (Knights Square).

During the British era the Governor Sir Gaspard Le Marchant changed the square into a private garden to be accessed only by the British . The statue of Grand Master Manoel de Vilhena was brought from Fort Manoel to the middle of the square / garden. In 1887 this statue was moved to Floriana and in 1891 replaced by one of Queen Victoria to commemorate her 50 th birthday.

The building on the Northwest side of the square (adjacent to Café Cordina) served as the treasury of the Order. From 1708 – 1849 the first post office was located in this building. Over time it housed government offices, a hotel and a cinema. It now houses the Casino Maltese.

On the other side (southeast) of the square, there is the National Library which was built by the Order when larger premises were required. Though completed in 1796, it did not open due to the French occupation. If was officially inaugurated under the British in 1812 by Civil Commissioner Sir Hildebrand Oakes .

The Grandmaster’s palace is on the North side of the square showing its strategic position and role along time.

Today it is a common meeting place for people who come over to the open air cafes to chat and relax in Republic square.


Featured image: