Housed in the Auberge de Provence in Republic Street, Valletta, the National Museum of Archaeology is a great example of fine architecture. It was built by the Order of St John in 1571, and designed by Mannerist architect Girolamo Cassar.
A spectacular range of artefacts are exhibited within the museum, dating back to the Neolithic period (5000 BC) and to the Phoenician period (400 BC). These include the earliest tools used by the prehistoric people to facilitate their daily tasks and representations of human and animal figures, giving visitors an insight into their daily life.
A few highlights include the “Venus of Malta” from Ħaġar Qim, the “Sleeping Lady” from the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum, and the Horus and Anubis pendant and bronze daggers recovered from the Bronze Age layers at Tarxien Temples.
One of the most striking and elegant halls in Malta and one of the most captivating features of the National Museum of Archaeology is the hall known as the Grand Salon on the first floor. All the walls and ceilings within the Grand Salon are covered with intricate painted decorations. During the time of the Knights, this room served as a refectory and banqueting hall, and was also used for business discussions. The room has one of the only five surviving wooden trussed roofs from this period.