Malta’s capital city, Valletta is dotted with historical buildings but one which stands out in terms of military and historical value is the the former Sacra Infermeria, the hospital built by the Knights of St John. This building, which today serves as the Mediterranean Conference Centre is located in a strategic position just below Fort St Elmo overlooking the Grand Harbour.

  • Nationwide

    Location

    Nationwide

  • European Regional Development Fund

    Fund

    European Regional Development Fund

  • Investing in Competitiveness for a better quality of life

    Programme

    Investing in Competitiveness for a better quality of life

  • €8,000,000

    Cost of Project

    €8,000,000

  • €4,234,958

    Total EU Allocation

    €4,234,958

This hospital is a living testament to the prowess of the Order of St John. Commissioned in 1574 by Grand Master Jean de la Cassiere, it was considered at the time one of the largest and best hospitals in Europe. This institution had its work cut out with the continuous warfare that dominated the Mediterranean at the time, but the versatility and remarkability of this building was confirmed when both the French and the British continued to use it during their reigns.

Fast forward five centuries, the Sacra Infermeria still brims with history but regularly hosts some of the best local and international talent with concerts and other events being hosted here.

And just as this place was an avant-garde institution centuries ago, once again it is celebrating an innovative milestone.

In fact, through the tapping of European funding, the Sacra Infermeria has been transformed into a virtual reality museum, the first of its kind in our country. Thanks to the innovation of augmented reality technology, users can experience some 18 scenes from the history of our country. This project amply demonstrates how digitalisation can contribute significantly to enhancing our tourism product and make history and culture more accessible and fun to the younger generations.

Through the use smart phones or tablets, visitors can experience fifteen different scenes from the era of the Knights of St John, and epic battles from the 1st and 2nd World Wars that changed the course of Malta’s destiny. Lovers of history, culture-seeking tourists or curious schoolchildren have the opportunity of meeting one of the biggest figures of Maltese history, Grandmaster La Valette, in one of the virtual rooms of the museums – and can ask him some questions too!

This installation also offers unique insight into how Valletta was built and allows users to take part in some of the action of times gone by, including dancing. One can even build his or her own augmented reality scene with the main characters using a special AR builder.

Besides the development of the museum, the investment also included the renovation of spaces which were not accessible for the general public including halls and the roof area, consisting of some 1,100 square metres offering stunning views on the rest of the capital.

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