This post is intended for use with the Maltese Democracy walking tour and smart learning activities.
The Names of Misrah ir-Repubblika (Republic Square)
Over the time Republic square had the following names:
- Piazza Tesoreria
- Piazza dei Cavallieri
- Piazza Regina
- Misrah ir-Repubblika (Maltese)
History of Misrah ir-Repubblika
During the knights era it was called Piazza dei Cavalieri (Knights Square).
During the British era the Governor Sir Gaspard Le Marchant [photo] changed the square into a private garden to be accessed only by the British [photo of enclosed Piazza Regina]. The statue of Grand Master Manoel de Vilhena was brought from Fort Manoel to the middle of the square / garden. In 1887 this statue was moved to Floriana and in 1891 replaced by one of Queen Victoria to commemorate her 50th birthday.
The building on the Northwest side of the square (adjacent to Café Cordina) served as the treasury of the Order. From 1708 – 1849 the first post office was located in this building. Over time it housed government offices, a hotel and a cinema. It now houses the Casino Maltese.
On the other side (southeast) of the square, there is the National Library which was built by the Order when larger premises were required. Though completed in 1796, it did not open due to the French occupation. If was officially inaugurated under the British in 1812 by Civil Commissioner Sir Hildebrand Oakes [photo].
The Grandmaster’s palace is on the North side of the square showing its strategic position and role along time.
Today it is a common meeting place for people who come over to the open air cafes to chat and relax in Republic square.