"Gargoyles & Graffiti"chronicles architectural elements that I find interesting or unique in my travels. Gargoyles are my passion, but today graffiti (which I hate but am learning to love as it is everywhere) is as much a part of architecture as the gargoyles and decorative railings that thrill me.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Malta: St. John's Co-Cathedral

An obligatory stop in Valleta, Malta is St. John's Co-Cathedral. It was so crowded the day we toured that I actually took a turn in the wrong direction and escaped, just to get away from the crowds. Most of my photos are all out of focus from being tousled around by the crowd. Being pushed forward and with so little space to manipulate my elbows, my photos suffered, but what a beautiful and excessive Cathedral it is. 

Here is an excerpt from St. John's Co-Cathedral website:

Commissioned in 1572 by Grand Master Jean de la Cassière as the conventual church of the Order of the Knights Hospitaller of St John and designed by the celebrated Maltese military architect Gerolamo Cassar, St John’s Co-Cathedral stands as a unique monument of international importance. The church is dedicated to St John the Baptist, the patron saint of the Order.
The Knights were noblemen from the most important families of Europe, and their mission was to protect the Catholic faith from the attacks of the Ottoman Turks. After defending the tiny island of Malta from the Ottomans in the Great Siege of 1565, they turned Malta into a fortress that befitted a military Order and built a new capital city worthy of noblemen. Pride of place in the centre of the new city ‘Valletta’ was reserved for their Church.

It is immediately evident when entering Malta by water that it is a fortress more than anything else, but it is also amazing beautiful and truly unique. Standing made of stone, you can tell these crusaders that formed Malta meant business, and this is also no more evident than in the Co-Cathedral of St. John for its lavish decoration. 

Who can read Latin?

Of course my interest is more in a gargoyle vein. The marble floor is interwoven with hundreds of skulls and crossbones. 

More information on St. John's Co-Cathedral can be found here on wikipedia.