Great Siege Square, Valletta, 125 years ago and now

Great Siege Square - Piazza Assedio - Piazza Fontana
Pic. 1: Great Siege Square – Piazza Assedio – Piazza Fontana. Photo courtesy of Joseph Piccinino.

This photo, from the late 1890s, is of Great Siege Square, Valletta, located in the area opposite today’s law courts.

If you look closely, near the tree on the left is a policeman. The type of cap that he is wearing is Victorian; those type of caps were worn until 1901.

You may also observe that most of the boys and men appearing in the picture are also wearing caps, as was the norm at the time.

This was a time when photography was in its early days in Malta and instilled curiosity in the general public, which is why almost all the people present appear to be looking at the photographer.

Great Siege Square is also known as Piazza Assedio. It was originally known as Piazza Fontana due to this beautiful fountain decorating the square.

The fountain was, however, dismantled, as water was seeping into the crypt of St John’s Co Cathedral located behind this (refer to pic. 4).

The fountain was replaced in 1927 with the Great Siege monument. The female figure on the left represents Faith, while the one on the right represents Civilisation; the central male figure represents Valour (refer to pic. 3).

The kiosk appearing on the left side of pic. 1, and on the right in pic. 2 due to the different angle of the picture, was still in place until the 1960s.

The fountain is now located at Argotti Botanic Gardens in Floriana (refer to pic. 5).

Great Siege Square - Piazza Assedio - Piazza Fontana
Pic. 2: An old postcard of Piazza Fontana, now known as Great Siege Square or Piazza Assedio


Great Siege Monument
Pic. 3: Great Siege Monument – Photo: Flickr / Tim Hulsen


The belfry of St John's Co Cathedral as visible from Great Siege Square
Pic. 4: The belfry of St John’s Co Cathedral as visible from Great Siege Square – Photo: Flickr / Tim Hulson


Fountain at Argotti Botanic Gardens, Floriana
Pic. 5: Fountain at Argotti Botanic Gardens, Floriana. Photo: Flickr / Wessex Andy
Melanie Drury

Melanie Drury

Writing has been Melanie's craft for as long as she could remember, and it combined well with her new-found love for long-haul travel, her greatest indulgence even now. Melanie's next favourite indulgence is dancing, whether out at a party, at a workshop or in her living room - it makes her feel alive, free, and connected, just as it does to experience nature, or to connect with people and their worlds.