of fortifying the rocky and steep-sided Mount Sciberras
had occured to the Knights on their arrival in 1530,
but because time was not on their side, they limited
themselves to building a fort at its very tip, instead.
If other Grand Masters studied the possibilities of
such a project, La Valette was obsessed with the idea:
as soon as he had been elected to the Grand Mastership
in 1557 he invited foreign military engineers, famous
in their time, to prepare the plans, but the Great Siege
put a stop to all that.
No sooner was the siege lifted than the plans for the
fortress city were again revived, but as a first step
the ill-fated fort St. Eimo was at once rebuilt.
Pope Pius IV sent his military engineer, Francesco
Laparelli, and the planning of the new town started
When Laparelli departed from the Island he left his
Maltese assistant, Gerolamo Cassar, to continue the
work he had started. La Valette died in 1568 and was
buried in the church of Our Lady of Victories, the first
building to be erected.
Other Grand Masters continued to embellish the new
city and, in time, all the important buildings of the
Order were enclosed within its walls: the Auberges of
the Langues of the Order; the Grand Master's Palace
with its Armoury; the Co-Cathedral and other churches:
the Hospital; the Courts of Justice and the palatial
houses of individual Knights, rich Maltese citizens,