An Auberge is a building where the Knights from the same "Langue"
and of the same Nationality live. Although in "Birgu" the Knights built eight
Auberges, one for each Langue; in Valletta they built seven Auberges (most of which constructed to the designs
of Girolamo Cassar) since the English Langue was abolished after the Protestant Reformation.
Unfortunately, some of the Auberges were damaged during the raids on Valletta of the Second World War. Four of
the seven beautiful Auberges are the following:-
Auberge de (of) Castille, Leon et (and) Portugal
Situated in Castille Place this was the palace of the Knights of the Spanish and Portugese Langue, and was constructed
on the design of Girolamo Cassar. Today, the Auberge is the Office of the Prime Minister of Malta,
and is the most beautiful and impressive palace from the time of the knights. It was originally built in Renaissance
style, but was embellished in 1744 during the magistracy of Grandmaster Pinto with a new Baroque façade,
as at that time, the Knights and especially Grandmaster Pinto demanded more status and prestige.
Situated opposite the Square of the Great Siege, this Auberge was hit by bombs during the
Second World War, and the beautiful building finally had to make way for the Law Courts of Malta.
Also erected by Girolamo Cassar in 1574, this was the Palazzo of the "Knights of the Italian
Langue". Later, the building served as a law Court. However, today it houses the main post office. Because
the chief of Italian Knights usually doubled as Captain of the Fleet, the grand hall, just inside the entrance,
served as a meeting place for the "Congregation of the Galleys", something similar to the supreme command
of the fleet, which had the leading captains amongst its ranks.
Auberge de Provence
Also designed and built by Girolamo Cassar in 1574, this palace was the mansion of the French Knights
of Provence. The French, who accounted for two-thirds of all Knights, traditionally maintained three Auberges (they
obviously had three Langues) within the Order, namely the Auberge de (of) France, the Auberge de Provence and the
Auberge d' Auvergne.
During British Rule this building was known as the Union Club and was then the hub of Malta's Social life. Today
the Auberge de Provence houses the National Museum of Archeology.
The Museum recounts the archeological history of Malta, from the early Neolithic (Malta has the earliest
free-standing monuments or megalithic temples in the world dating back to 6,000 years ago. Moreover, Malta has
the highest number of megalithic temple sites per square mile) relicts and tools, to the time of Romans.
Here one can see the Neolithic "Venus of Malta" and the famous "Sleeping Lady"
found in the Hypogeum.
There is also a lot of Pre-historic pottery as well as Punic and Romans remains, including very old coins ----
a must for museum lovers.