St. John's Co-Cathedral

St. John’s Co-Cathedral

Introduction

St. John’s Co-Cathedral is a stunning Baroque-style church located in Valletta, the capital city of Malta. It is a renowned tourist attraction, known for its magnificent architecture and unique artwork. St. John’s Co-Cathedral is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Malta, as its ornate interior and detailed decorations offer a unique insight into the culture and history of the island.

 

History

St. John’s Co-Cathedral was built in the 16th century by the Order of St. John as their conventual church. The Order of St. John, also known as the Knights of Malta or the Knights Hospitaler, were a Catholic religious order founded in 1099. The knights were originally founded as a hospice to care for sick and poor pilgrims travelling to the Holy Land, and over time they became a powerful military force.

St. John’s Co-Cathedral was designed in the Baroque style by Maltese architect Girolamo Cassar, who is also responsible for designing many of the buildings in Valletta. The church was completed in 1577 and is now the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Malta. It is also the co-cathedral of the Diocese of Gozo, and the Knights of Malta used it as their conventual church until their expulsion from Malta in 1798.

 

Architecture and Artwork

St. John’s Co-Cathedral is renowned for its magnificent Baroque architecture and ornate decorations. The church was built in the style of Counter-Reformation Baroque, which is characterized by its lavish use of marble, gilded stucco, and intricate carvings. The interior of the church is decorated with a variety of sculptures, paintings, and other artwork.

Perhaps the most famous work of art in St. John’s Co-Cathedral is ‘The Beheading of St. John the Baptist’ by Caravaggio. The painting was commissioned by the Knights of Malta in 1608 and is considered to be one of the artist’s most important works. Other notable works include ‘The Adoration of the Shepherds’ by Mattia Preti, the ‘Altar of St. John the Baptist’ by Francesco Buonamici, and the ‘Tomb of Grandmaster Jean de Valette’ by Melchiorre Cafà.

 

Visiting St. John’s Co-Cathedral

St. John’s Co-Cathedral is open to the public seven days a week from 9am to 4pm, with extended opening hours in the summer months. Entrance fees apply, but visitors can purchase a discounted ticket if they plan to visit other attractions in Valletta.

The interior of the church is very well preserved and the artwork is breathtaking. Visitors can also take a guided tour of the church, which includes a detailed explanation of the history and artworks. There are also periodic concerts and events held in the church.

 

Conclusion

St. John’s Co-Cathedral is a stunning Baroque church located in Valletta, Malta. It is a renowned tourist attraction, known for its magnificent architecture and unique artwork. The church was built in the 16th century by the Order of St. John, and is now the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Malta and the co-cathedral of the Diocese of Gozo. St. John’s Co-Cathedral is open to the public seven days a week and offers guided tours, providing visitors with a deeper understanding of its rich history and artistic treasures. A visit to this architectural masterpiece is a journey back in time, allowing one to marvel at the beauty and grandeur of Malta’s cultural and religious heritage. St. John’s Co-Cathedral stands not only as a place of worship but also as a testament to the artistic achievements of its time, making it an essential stop for those exploring the cultural gems of Malta.

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