For other uses, see Grand Harbour (disambiguation).
The harbour mouth faces north east and is bounded to the north by Saint Elmo Point and further sheltered by an isolated breakwater and is bounded to the south by Ricasoli Point.
This peninsula also divides Grand Harbour from a second parallel natural harbour, Marsamxett Harbour.
The main waterway of Grand Harbour continues inland almost to Marsa.
The southeastern shore of the harbour is formed by a number of inlets and headlands, principally Rinella Creek, Kalkara Creek, Dockyard Creek, and French Creek, which are covered by Kalkara and the Three Cities: Cospicua, Vittoriosa, and Senglea.
The harbour has been described as Malta's greatest geographic asset.
With its partner harbour of Marsamxett, Grand Harbour lies at the centre of gently rising ground.
Development has grown up all around the twin harbours and up the slopes so that the whole bowl is effectively one large conurbation.
Much of Malta's population lives within a three kilometer radius of Floriana.
This is now one of the most densely populated areas in Europe.
Together, these districts contain 27 of 68 local councils.
They have a population of 213,722 which make up over 47% of the total population of the Maltese islands.
The Maltese islands have a long history, mainly due to its strategic location and natural harbours, mainly the Grand Harbour as well as Marsamxett.
The Grand Harbour has in fact been used since prehistoric times.
Megalithic remains have been found on the shores of the Grand Harbour.
The Kordin Temples, the earliest of which date back to around 3700 BC, overlooked the harbour from Corradino Heights.
Another megalithic structure possibly existed underwater off Fort Saint Angelo, but this can no longer be seen.
Punic and Roman remains were also found on the shores of the harbour.
It might have been built instead of ancient buildings, possibly Phoenician or Roman temples, or an Arab fortress.
In 1283, the Battle of Malta was fought at the entrance of the Grand Harbour.
The Grand Harbour was the base for the Order of Saint John for 268 years, from 1530 to 1798.
They landed at Marsamxett and marched upon the Grand Harbour, but did not attack as they found the town of Birgu too well fortified to attack.
The city of Senglea was also founded soon afterwards.
Later on in the 1550s, a tornado struck the Grand Harbour, killing 600 people and destroying a shipping armada.
The area was the scene of much of the fighting in the Great Siege of Malta of 1565 when the Ottomans attempted to eject the Order of St John but were ultimately defeated.
After the siege, the capital city of Valletta was built on the Sciberras peninsula on the north west shore of the harbour.
During the British colonial rule, the harbour became a strategic base for the Royal Navy and the base of the Mediterranean Fleet.
A Vision for Malta's Grand Harbour
The Grand Harbour, the backdrop to Malta's history, is set to experience a regeneration as in September 2007, the Maltese Government unveiled 20 proposed projects that would revamp the area while respecting its historic value.
The 20 proposals are these:
- A New Cruise Liner Terminal in Senglea
- Extending the Valletta Cruise Liner Terminal
- One promenade from Ricasoli all the way to Senglea
- New yacht marina in Kalkara
- Conversion of Sir Paul Boffa hospital into a hotel
- A new tourism and cultural sector
- A center for the audio-visual industry in Fort Ricasoli
- Restoration of Villa Bighi
- Super yachts along the Senglea waterfront
- Discontinuing the Cleaning of Tanks
- A Commercial Maritime Park
- Maritime institute
- Maritime services
- Closing down the Marsa Power Station
- Afforestation of the Rinella Valley
- Rinella Creek
- New maritime infrastructure in Kalkara
- The reorganisation of Xatt il-Mollijiet
- Extension of quay infrastructe in Coradino
- A Base for Towing Services in Xatt il-Knisja
Around the Grand Harbour from Fort Ricasoli to Fort St. Elmo
- Fort Ricasoli
- Rinella Bay
- Kalkara Creek
- Fort St. Angelo
- Dockyard Creek or Cottonera Marina
- St. Angelo Strand, Birgu
- Xatt il-Forn, Birgu
- Xatt ir-Risq, Birgu
- Xatt San Lawrenz, Birgu
- Dock No. 1, Bormla
- Xatt Juan B. Azzopardi, Senglea
- Fort Saint Michael
- French Creek
- Dock No. 2
- Ghajn Dwieli Road
- Dock No. 6
- Ras Ħanżir Point
- New Port
- Bridge Wharf, Marsa
- Flagstone Wharf / Moll iċ-Ċangatura, Marsa
- Lighters Wharf / il-Moll tal-Braken, Marsa
- Timber Wharf / il-Moll tal-Ħatab, Marsa
- Xatt l-Għassara tal-Għeneb, Marsa
- Valletta Waterfront or Pinto Wharf, Floriana
- Lascaris Wharf, Valletta
- Xatt il-Barriera, Valletta
- Taħt iż-Żiemel
- Fort St. Elmo
Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand Harbour.