City Gate (Malta)

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The new city gate under construction

City Gate - also known as Putirjal in Maltese (from the Italian Porta Reale)- is the main entrance to Malta's capital city, Valletta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is most commonly called Bieb il-Belt, "Door to the city".

First City Gate - Porta San Giorgio[edit]

The original gate, known as Porta San Giorgio, was designed by military engineer Francesco Laparelli de Carotona during the reign of Grandmaster Jean Parisot de Valette, and was erected between April 1566 and 1569.

Second City Gate[edit]

In 1632 Porta San Giorgio was replaced by a more ornate gate designed by the Maltese architect Tommaso Dingli, during the rule of Grandmaster Antoine de Paule. Dingli's design consisted of a central archway with a smaller arch at each side, and a wooden drawbridge across the deep, dry moat that lies immediately outside the walls of Valletta.

Third City Gate - Kingsway[edit]

City Gate celebrations by the British and Pro-British Maltese

In 1853, at the height of British rule over Malta, a new gate designed by a certain Col. Thompson of the Royal Engineers was erected, consisting of two central arches with two smaller ones. Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, City Gate was known as Porta Reale, which became "Putirjal" in Maltese, and "Kingsway" in English.

Fourth City Gate[edit]

The City Gate decorated for Christmas in 2006

The fourth City Gate was inaugurated in 1964 and it was part of a project that never materialised, that of redeveloping the entrance to Valletta and the Royal Opera House. Its Italian modernism design was the source of much controversy. Recent years have witnessed growing public interest in the redevelopment of City Gate and the Royal Opera House, situated nearby. Celebrated Italian architect Renzo Piano,[1] and local Maltese architect Richard England both submitted designs for a new City Gate, but the project stalled at the time due to poor public reaction. This gate was demolished in May 2011 to make way for the fifth city gate.[2]

Fifth City Gate - Renzo Piano's Project[edit]

The new City Gate will be the fifth to have stood at the entrance to Valletta. In 2011 construction began, following a second design by Renzo Piano for the gate and surrounding area. Construction is currently underway.[3]


  1. ^ See: Renzo Piano's Official Website, at
  2. ^
  3. ^

Coordinates: 35°53′46.2″N 14°30′33.5″E / 35.896167°N 14.509306°E / 35.896167; 14.509306

External links[edit]