Co-Cathedral of St. John the Baptist

Ceiling paintings, St. John's Cathedral

The most visited monument in the capital city of Valletta is undoubtedly the St. John the Baptist Cathedral. Malta's main cathedral is in Mdina, but St John's in Valletta enjoys the same privileges as the cathedral. Hence the name "co-cathedral".

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The church attracts its attention especially with its richly decorated interiors with famous paintings.

Construction took place between 1573 and 1578.

The austere façade...

At first glance, St. John's Cathedral is just an ordinary church. The architect Girolamo Cassar designed the building in a very austere Mannerist style.

The church is lower than the nearby Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, so it is not even a prominent landmark of the city.

However, the not very attractive exterior should not deter you from visiting.

...breathtaking interior

The interior of the church is one of the highlights of Baroque architecture and is considered one of the most beautiful in Europe.

The interior was rebuilt in Baroque style during the 17th century and its extraordinary ornate design contrasts sharply with the exterior façade.

The remarkable paintings are complemented by rich gold decoration and marble columns and floors.

Caravaggio's painting

The most valuable works of art abound in the oratory, one of the side rooms of the cathedral.

Here you can admire the painting depicting the "Beheading of St. John the Baptist (1608)", painted by the famous Italian painter Caravaggio. It is his largest canvas and the only painting he ever signed.

Admission and opening hours

The cathedral is open to the public Monday through Saturday from 9:00-16:45 (last entry at 16:15).

On Sundays it remains closed all day.

Ticket prices are as follows:

  • 15 eur - Adults
  • 12 eur - students with ISIC card and seniors over 60

Children under 12 years old are admitted free of charge.

Admission includes access to the main nave and the oratory with the work of the painter Caravaggio.

Official website:

The main tourist entrance is from the side of the cathedral on Triq ir-Repubblika Street.

Masses take place in the cathedral at the following times:

  • Monday to Friday - 8:30 a.m.
  • Saturday - 8:30 a.m., 5:45 p.m.
  • Sunday - 7:45 a.m., 9:15 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 5:45 p.m.

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