Knights of Malta

Sacra Infermeria

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The Sacra Infermeria, or the ‘Holy Infirmery’, was a state-of-the-art hospital at the time of its establishment by the Order of the Knights of Malta in 1574. It had a capacity of over 600 beds, and a non-discriminatory criteria for admission - unusually for the period, women, slaves and non-Catholics were all treated at the hospital.

The Knights of St John originated as a ’Hospitaller’ order, charged with a holy mission to aid and protect pilgrims en route to Jerusalem, as well as tend for the sick. Their skills in the field of medicine were amongst the most advanced in Europe, even to the extent of complex surgical techniques. Contrary to the norms and practices of their time, the Knights were also diligently hygienic in their ministrations; the silver cutlery which the hospital used was not an extravagance but rather among the Order’s many concessions to hygiene.

The Sacra Infermeria is now a conference centre, and is partially accessible to the public with a visit to a permanent exhibition entitled ’The Knights Hospitaller’ in the underground halls and corridors of the former hospital.

Don’t miss

  • The imposing Great Ward, 161 meters long and 11 meters wide.
  • The reconstruction pharmacy as it would have looked in the Knights’ era.
  • The ’Malta Fungus’ (actually a species of tuber) which the Knights prized as an effective dressing for wounds.

Address

Mediterranean Conference Centre, Triq l-Isptar, Valletta, Malta.

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Public transport

  • The Sacra Infermeria is a 15 minute walk away from Valletta Bus Terminus.

Opening hours

    Knights Hospitallers Exhibition:
  • July to Oct. Mon - Sun from 10.30am to 5.30pm. Last admission 5.00pm.
  • Nov.-June Mon-Sun 09.30am-4.30pm. Last admission 4.00pm.
  • Closed on Christmas Day.
  • Tel:+356 21417334/99494590

Entrance

  • Knights Hospitallers Exhibition:
  • Adults: €4.30, Concessions €2.90, Children €2.00.

Telephone

+356 21243840/3 (Sacra Infermeria)

 

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The Knights of Malta

A Knight of Malta describes the 1000-year long epic history of his Order.

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