"~ The Seige Bell ~" Valletta Things to Do Tip by starship
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You may not realize how many movies have been filmed in Malta, but the number is more than you might think--"Troy" (2004); "Alexander" (2004); "Gladiator"; "Midnight Express" (1978); "U-571" (2000) and many more. But it was seeing "The Siege Bell" as a scenic backdrop in "The Count of Monte Cristo"* (2002) which made me want to find out more about this graceful structure. When we cruised into Malta's Grand Harbor, I realized the Seige Bell, rising high above stone embankment, was a stunning addition to what already was the most amazing harbor I have ever seen.
Contrary to my initial belief that the the Seige Bell was just a beautiful rotunda, I learned that it is a solemn War Memorial commemorating the victory of the Allied forces during the Second Siege of Malta from 1940-1943. This tiny country withstood constant bombardment and bravely resisted the Axis powers of Germany and Fascist Italy.
In 1942 Malta was awarded the George Cross by England's King George VI who said "...to honour her brave people, I award the George Cross to the Island Fortress of Malta to bear witness to a heroism and devotion that will long be famous in history." A plaque states the Bell "commemorates the award of the George Cross to Malta and honours over 7000 personnel and civilians who gave their lives during the siege of Malta."
For an even more moving experience, plan to be there when the bell is rung daily at noon.
Bus no 98 will take you to the nearest bus stop which is at the Mediterranean Conference Centre where you can also attend "The Malta Experience."
*The Siege Bell of Malta can be seen in the film, "Count of Monte Cristo," where the scene takes place in Monsieur Villeforte's office and the camera angle faces his desk and the large open windows behind him. The Siege Bell can be clearly seen behind Monsieur Villeforte.
Directions: The Siege Bell is located in Mediterranean Street (Triq Il Mediterran) situated between Fort St Elmo and the Lower Barrakka Gardens. It is just near the "St Lazarus Curtain."
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