After their eventual triumph in the Great Siege of Malta in 1565, the Knights of St John, the quasi-military force who repelled the Turkish invaders, became the toast of a grateful Europe. The fortress of the magnificent Grand Master's Palace in Valletta reflects their heroic standing and celebrates the wealth lavished upon them. It was to become the home of the supreme head of the Knights of St John and was constructed by Gerolamo Cassar, the Maltese architect who worked on the grid-like construction of the city of Valletta (so-called in honor of Grand Master Jean Parisot de La Vallette) in 1571 to 1575, as well as the ornate ceilings of St John's Co-Cathedral.
Today the palace shares its space with the President's Palace and parliamentary offices, as well as the Grand Armoury in the lower floors of the building which houses one of the world’s finest collections of 16th- and 17th-century armor made for Knights of St John. Also open to the public are a series of richly decorated State Rooms in which the Grand Masters entertained their guests. Highlights of a visit includes rich Gobelin tapestries, the Neptune Courtyard designed by Giambologna, a gigantic frieze depicting the Great Siege in 1565 and a series of richly decorated salons.
The Grand Master's Palace is a 15-minute walk from Valletta bus station in a pedestrianized area of the city. For drivers, there is designated parking outside the City Gate.
The Grand Armoury and Palace State Rooms are open seven days a week; a joint ticket permits entrance to both museums. On some Thursdays the State Rooms are closed when Parliament is in session (the admission price is reduced). Multilingual audio guides are available. The MaltaPass can be used here for discounted entry.