The Palace Armoury is located between the well-known Merchant Street and Republic Street, within the magnificent ‘Grandmaster’s Palace‘ in Valletta. This historic monument houses a world-famous collection of fire weapons and armours, belonging to the Knights of the Order themselves. What makes this collection exclusively valuable is that most of the artefacts displayed are truly authentic, exposed in their original buildings. This is certainly the strongest symbol of the former dominance and glory of the Order of St. John. Well-worth a visit!
The place was inaugurated in 1604 by Grand Master Alof de Wignacourt, who actually transferred all the arsenal of the Order to the Palace. It served as the military headquarters of the Order and was therefore of the highest importance. However, the Armoury quickly turned into a sort of military antiquarian, as suits of armour of Knights killed in action were finally stocked there. The ‘La Vallette Armour‘ and the ‘Wignacourt Parade Armour‘ made in Milan are valuable masterpieces. Amazing details can be seen on these armours.
The Museum also houses a collection of swords, crossbows, pistols, bronze cannons and heavy artillery pieces. The original collection held more artefacts, however it was severely reduced in quantities by the French robberies after 1798. It is a really impressive and interesting place to visit and would still hold enough weapons to equip hundreds of soldiers today!
The Palace Armoury was the residence of many Grand Masters and also welcomed important foreign visitors. Nowadays, the Grand Master’s Palace is the Office of the President of the Republic of Malta. It is used as the ‘House of Representatives‘ as well. The cultural part of the site is operated by Heritage Malta.
Opening Hours: The Museum opens daily at 9am and closes at 5pm. The last admission is at 4.30pm.
Tickets: Entrance fees for both the Palace Armoury and the Palace State Rooms are available at a price of €12 for adults (€17 with audio-guide), €8 for students, children and seniors. The entrance is free of charge for kids under 6. Access to the Armoury is only at about half this price.
Public Transport: The Palace Armoury is situated in the heart of the capital city, notably between the 2 most popular streets in Valletta: Republic Street and Merchant Street. It is therefore easily accessible, as most of the buses from anywhere around the island stop there. A few minutes’ walk from the City Gate will do the rest.