Kon-Katidral ta’ San Ġwann, Valetta, Malta
The Roman Catholic cathedral has been erected by the Order of St. John in Valetta between 1572 and 1577. Grand Master Jean l’Evesque de la Cassière and architect Girolamo Cassar were responsible for a modest building, dedicated to St. John.
However, in the 1660s Grand Master Raphael Cotoner ordered a refurbishing of the inside. Rumors go, this was not in favor of the Maltese knights but to rival the church of Rome. The elaborate golden inside of St. John’s has been designed by the Italian artist Mattia Preti in lavish Baroque style. Unusually, the wood carvings were produced on sight. With all that gold, marble and the intricate wall hangings, this place is absolutely breath-taking and offers an amazing feeling of space. You are also pretty sure this is a Catholic church.
Approximately around 1820, the Arch Bishop was allowed to use this church as well, due to its popularity. Therefore, the Archbishop’s Cathedral at the old capital Mdina is the cathedral, while St. John’s in Valetta serves as a co-cathedral.
There you have it, history in a nutshell. After an hour and a half, I gave up on my audioguide (as there is a wee bit more to all this). If you would really like to make the most of your visit to St. John’s Co-Cathedral, maybe break it up into two?