‘A Harbour for Nations’: A mid 16th century experience at Valletta and Birgu this weekend

This weekend, travel back in time to the mid 16th century as Heritage Malta museums open with reenactments, intriguing characters, and engrossing settings for ‘A Harbour for Nations: 1565-1571’. On Friday 20 October and Saturday 22 October, watch as the Inquisitor’s Palace, which houses the National Museum of Ethnography, is transformed into Birgu’s Old Castellania! Additionally, experience recreations of historic battles at Fort St. Elmo, Fort St. Angelo, and the National War Museum.

Organised by Compagnia San Michele, ‘A Harbour for Nations: 1565-1571’ comes as part of The Hands On History Project, which is partially sponsored by the European Commission. Thus, the aptly named event will see participants gather from Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, France, and the United States. This international gathering is a part of an unofficial coalition between groups that interpret the Early Modern Period—that is, the years 1565–1571, in particular. The event will take place in a number of venues across the Maltese archipelago and interpret significant historical events in Maltese history between these years.

Those who visit the museums and locations featured in this event’s program will have the rare chance to travel back in time and experience Early Modern Malta, as well as engage with the re-enactors, and get some interesting tidbits about the times their characters lived in. This two-day event will open with a parade through Valletta’s beautiful streets on Friday morning, followed by a skirmish at Fort St Elmo that afternoon. Then, head to Birgu the next day for an ‘Interpretation of the Inquisitor’s Palace in Birgu as the Old Castellania’ in the morning, succeeded by another skirmish at Fort St Angelo. 

‘A Harbour for Nations: 1565-1571’ will take place during Heritage Malta’s regular opening hours, i.e., from 10 am to 6 pm. For this weekend only, a special combo ticket giving holders access to Fort St. Elmo, Fort St. Angelo, and the Inquisitor’s Palace will be available. It can be purchased either online on Heritage Malta’s official website, or in person at any of their museums and sites. Alternatively, you can get regular admission tickets at the entrance.