Vintage Bus Tour to Vittoriosa, Cospicua and Senglea
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About this experience
Follow us, come back in time and drive to the fortress of Cottonera which is widely known as the Three Cities, these being Vittoriosa, Cospicua & Senglea.
These cities were the core of the Knights of Malta kingdom and were build and/or fortified by them.
We will start our experience with an informative drive through Cospicua. This town has been inhabited since Neolithic times.
Before the 18th Century, it was called Bormla, a name which locals still use today. Its fortification bastions, constructed to defend the town and its neighbors Vittoriosa & Senglea, were built by the Knights of Malta.
The construction works began in 1638 but they were not completed for another 70 years.
In 1722, Grand Master Marc’ Antonio Zondadari proclaimed Bormla a city and, inspired by its powerful bastions, named it Citta’ Cospicua.
Then we will visit Vittoriosa, situated in a perfect spot to be a safe harbor and over the centuries it has developed a very long history with maritime, mercantile and military activities.
Before Valletta became the capital city of Malta, every army that wanted to conquer Maltese islands would need to gain control on Vittoriosa due to its important position in the Grand Harbour.
Vittoriosa is now a place of many tourist attractions. In historic Vittoriosa Waterfront contains we will find the Palace of the General of the Galleys and the Order of St. John’s treasury.
The area was renovated in the early 2000s and both buildings are used for other pursuits: the former is now a casino, while the latter is home to the Malta Maritime Museum.
Another museum, the Vittoriosa 1565 Museum, is made to remember the siege and the battle in the town in 1565.
The third city is Senglea, connected by a land bridge to Cospicua during the time of the Knights of St. John. It was an islet but became peninsular in shape.
At the times of the Knights of St. John, Senglea was used as a hunting field and was known as L’Isola di San Giuliano.
In 1311 St. Julian’s church or chapel was established. This was the first building to be constructed on the islet. On 8 May 1552 the ground stone of Fort St. Michael was laid. The construction of the fort, which was designed by Architect Pedro Pardo, was completed in 1553. The foundation of the whole walled town Senglea took place during the subsequent decade.
The area, which had until the 1550s has been called Isola di San Giuliano or Isola di San Michele, was given city status by Grand Master Claude De La Sengle and was named after him.
You will know everything about this ex-island thanks to a detailed English commentary by the driver. You will also discover how Valletta and the Three Cities connected with two Great Sieges of 1565 and 1942.
Moreover, this is a unique experience because our coach is the first two wooden bodied buses purchased in 1921 by the Cottonera Motor Bus Company.
They were licensed to operate routes between Cottonera and Valletta and were made by local carpenters and mechanics, later called as bus body builders.
At that time the local carpenters and mechanics were encouraged to build bus bodies so that the company Cottonera Motor Bus Co. could improve its fleet rapidly.
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How to use the voucher
Exchange your printed voucher at the meeting point
Cancel up to 1 day in advance for a full refund
Please be aware that some walking is included during this tour, please come prepared and we recommend wearing comfortable clothes and shoes. Please arrive at the meeting point 10 minutes before the start of the tour. Tour is not organised on a Public Holiday.
Return transport is provided
from Sliema Ferries at 1500 hrs, 1600 hrs or 1800 hrs.
What's not included
Please select a departure point as the booking option