The Great Siege – The epic battle between the Ottoman Empire and the Knights of Saint John.
In 1565, Suleiman The Magnificent, The Ottoman Sultan ordered the invasion of the island of Malta and the destruction of the Knights of Saint John based on the same island. The dawn of Friday the 18th of May 1565, the islands lookouts spotted a ghastly sight on the horizon. Far out on the Mediterranean Sea, hundreds of vessels could be seen approaching the islands. The Ottoman Empire, with all its force, had arrived.
The size of the island, and the weak forces available for the Knight, had lead Suleiman the Magnificent to plan for a short battle, possibly lasting a couple of weeks.
However, Grandmaster Jean Parisot de Valette, thanks to his spies who warned about the imminent battle, had prepared the island as best as he could. The Knights were clearly outnumbered. Various documents show that the Ottoman Armada brough along a force of 40,000 while the Knights gathered 6,100 soldiers, mostly Maltese.
It was a battle of religions, and one powered by courageous men and women who would shape Europe’s history.
What followed next was the battle of battles, and eventually became known as the Great Siege of Malta. You will walk in the shadows of the same fort which withstood the Ottoman’s ire for months.
Both sides gave all they had. Military strategies, desperate attempts, gruesome tactics and the terrible loss of life.
You will see the renowned Grand Harbour from the exact point of view the valorous Knights had, while better appreciating the Knight’s skill and strategy when facing the might of the Ottoman empire. You will witness the unique ambience of the original chapel where the last Knights were killed just before the fall of Saint Elmo.
However, the Knights resilience, and the severe loss of life incurred by the Ottomans lead to the latter leaving the island empty handed, while the Knights celebrated the end of hell on earth.
The Great Siege of Malta lasted 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days.
Your private half day tour will take place in Valletta, starting off with a view of the majestic grand harbour to understand the main locations related to the great siege. It will be easy to notice and admire the fortifications built by the Knights to protect Malta’s residents.
The city of Valletta itself was built after the siege and takes its name from the Grand Master who managed to withstand the Ottoman force and win the siege. He was the one to place the first stone of Valletta. You will visit this same spot and stand on the same ground as La Valette and his courageous Knights.