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Published on Nov 28, 2011
The area that is today occupied by the town of Floriana was fortified in the early 17th century to strengthen the defences of the capital city Valletta. The bastions and fortifications were designed by the Italian military engineer Pietro Paolo Floriani and were called the Floriana Lines. The city that grew within during the reign of Grandmaster Antonio Manoel de Vilhena (1722-1736) was named Borgo Vilhena in the Grandmaster's honour. However the residents preferred to continue to call their town Floriana (Maltese: Furjana) and this is the name that endured. The open spaces and gardens of Floriana were conceived as a recreational area for the Knights outside of the City of Valletta. Today Floriana is endowed with several public and historical gardens. Many are located above or within the bastions overlooking the Grand Harbour in the east or Marsamxett Harbour in the west. Floriana also boasts several historic fountains including the Tritons Fountain, just outside Valletta, the Lion Fountain (1728) in St. Anne Street and the Wignacourt Fountain that was moved to St. Philip Gardens from St. George Square (Main Guard) in Valletta. Among the more impressive monuments in Floriana are the statue of Christ The King (1913) by the famous Maltese sculptor Antonio Sciortino, located in The Mall just in front of the Phoenicia Hotel, The War Memorial within the roundabout at the end of St. Anne Street, the Vilhena Monument near the Granaries and the Monument to Pietro Paolo Floriani. This video starts at The Mall promenade and visits the Granaries, the Commonwealth Air Forces Memorial garden, Vilhena Gardens, Sir Luigi Preziosi Gardens, King George V Garden, Herbert Ganado Gardens, St. Philip Gardens, Argotti Botanical Gardens, Sa Maison Garden "Tal-Milorda" and the Msida Bastion Historic Garden (Garden of Rest). One little known fact is that the Maltese patriot Mikiel Anton Vassalli is believed to have been buried in this cemetery. This video also visits Floriana's underground Victorian railway station (12:35), that was opened to the public for the first time since the War on just one day, 23rd October 2011 and also takes an unusual peep inside the Wignacourt Water Fountain (1615), that was also open to the public. The video was shot mostly during November 2011. Music: Beethoven's Piano Concerto No 5 "Emperor", Mvt 1 and extract of Mvt 2, Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Zubin Mehta, Alfred Brendel