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Review: National Museum of Archaeology

Attraction - Museum

Valletta, Malta

A fascinating history of Malta and an international exhibition

  • By SilverTraveller SilverTravelUser

    243 reviews

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  • April 2018
  • Husband

54 people found this review helpful

If you are visiting Valletta, try to fit in a visit to the Archeology Museum in the main street in Valletta. It is open daily, and a small fee, but the Sunday I visited was free (the next week it was free admission to the National War Museum instead), so an added bonus.

It is a beautiful building itself, but includes a fascinating selection of exhibits, charts, and written explanations of the archeological history of the islands of Malta and Gozo. Stroll around and there are short videos on lots of different topics, including how they used to make coins, and a discussion about what the ancient cart ruts are (though they are still not sure of the dates or what actually pulled the wheeled carts).

The most important sections are on the voluptuous female sculptures of the Maltese Venus and the Sleeping Woman. This is particularly fascinating as you see images of it around the island, and others have been found in different locations, but it is a tiny figure that represents eternal sleep or death.

Most visitors are interested in the easily-recognised Maltese woman, exceptionally large, rounded hips representing fertility. It is surprising to see that there are various versions of this figure, ranging from monumental sculptures to small hand-held devotional statues. Great if you are an artist and want to draw or paint these artefacts as you can get quite close to them.

This visit coincided with an exhibition of art works by Picasso and Miro at the Palace Armoury building – a good entry price at €7 for seniors. It was interesting to see some of the lesser-known works by Miro, especially as you could get very close to them as they were not behind glass. Haven’t seen the Torn Canvas paintings before, nor some of the larger works by Miro, and it is always good to see the fine detail of Picasso’s figure sketches.

Always lots to do in Valletta, especially as 2018 it is the European City of Culture. It was a perfect Sunday, finishing with a classical music concert at the wonderful Teatro Manoel theatre after a cocktail at the little bar just along the street.

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