Cottonera – Three Cities behind Brothers-in-Arms as told by Fra Nicolás Cotoner
The Three Cities – as Birgu, Bormla and Isla are collectively known – share the same story, and the importance of this story extends beyond the grand enceinte commissioned by Grand Master Nicholas Cotoner in 1670. It is key to a full appreciation of the island-state of Malta, in particular the past 500 years.
Alongside Valletta, on the opposite flank of the Grand Harbour, the Three Cities acted as Malta’s gateway throughout the Order’s and British tenures. The arrival of the Order in 1530 metamorphosed Gallery’s Creek into a bustling maritime hub. Strong trade links with all major ports of the Mediterranean were forged, while hundreds of foreign craftsmen and businessmen mingled with the local folk. For well over four centuries, Cottonera proved to be Malta’s multicultural hotspot.