The Old Saluting Battery stands on the lower part of the St. Peter and St. Paul Bastion. Originally built in the 16th century, it remained in continuous use up to 1960. The battery functioned as a master time keeper, as the gun shots at sunrise and sunset marked the beginning and end of the working day, as well as the opening or closing of the town gates.
The noon gun was fired to signal to mariners in the harbour the exact hour of mid-day, which was necessary for the regulation of watches on board ships for accurate navigation. The Saluting Battery was restored in 2005, complete with eleven original British 24-pounder cannons from the mid-late 19th century and volunteers dressed in uniforms of the time, representing the Royal Malta Artillery.
Location: Lower area of St. Peter and St. Paul Bastion, Valletta (right under the Upper Barracca Gardens).
The Upper Barrakka Gardens are situated near Castille Place and possess unsurpassed views across the Grand Harbour over to the Three Cities.
The origins of the Upper Barrakka Gardens go back to 1661, when it was a private garden of the Italian Knights, whose inns of residence (auberges) lie close by. It was not before 1824 that it was opened as a public garden and during WWII the garden suffered much destruction. The paths are lined with and the busts, statues and plaques that chart various personalities and other significant events in Maltese history.
Of special interest are the bronze group, known as ‘Les Gavroches’ (street urchins), by an early 20th century Maltese sculptor. Depicting three children hurrying forward, the idea behind this statue was the extreme hardship faced at the turn of the 20th century.