Auberge de Castille
|Auberge de Castille|
|Berġa ta' Kastilja|
Auberge de Castille, undergoing restoration
|Town or city||Valletta|
|Renovated||1741 to 1745|
|Design and construction|
The Auberge de Castille (Maltese: Berġa ta' Kastilja) is one of the seven auberges built in the sixteenth century in Valletta, Malta, for the langues of the knights of the Order of Saint John. It housed the langue of Castille, León and Portugal until the French occupation of Malta in 1798, and from 1800 was the headquarters of the British army in Malta. It now houses the office of the Prime Minister of Malta.
The Auberge de Castille was built between 1571 and 1574, under the architect Girolamo Cassar. It was regarded as the most innovative of his Auberge designs. The original Auberge was completely rebuilt by Andrea Belli in 1741 during the grandmastership of Manuel Pinto da Fonseca. The coats of arms of Castile and León and of Portugal, along with Pinto's personal coat of arms appear sculpted on the facade of the building.
After the Order's capitulation to the French Republic in 1798, Auberge de Castille served as the Commission for National Property. Auberge de Castille became the headquarters for the British armed forces in Malta in 1805. In 1889 a signalling station with a large aerial was installed on the roof to communicate with warships of the Mediterranean Fleet moored in the Grand Harbour. In World War II, the Auberge was bombed and sustained severe damage on the right side of the entrance. This was rebuilt after the war and the aerial was removed.
The Office of the Prime Minister was moved from Auberge d'Aragon to Auberge de Castille on 4 March 1972. In this building the Prime Minister leads the business of the government and every Tuesday he convenes his cabinet of ministers here.
The Auberge de Castille has been selected as the main motif for a recent commemorative coin, the Maltese Auberge de Castille commemorative coin, minted in 2008. On the reverse the Portico of the Auberge de Castille is shown; while on the obverse the Coat of arms of Malta is displayed.
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