St. John's Co-Cathedral in Valletta's centre is a true baroque masterpiece. While rather plain from the outside, once you step between its Doric columns through the portal, the true splendour of this Roman Catholic cathedral is revealed. Impressive wood carvings and tapestries decpict scenes from the life of Saint John. Eight chapels flank the cathedral's sides, themselves full of elaborate decorations.
St. John's also features a number of important art pieces, such as The Beheading of St John the Baptist, one of Caravaggio's most significant works. Marble tombs of about 400 knights, and sarcophagus of Grand Masters are also among the baroq masterpieces. If you want more, pay a visit to the adjacent cathedral museum. A range of garments, tapestries as well as further paintings are on display.
Commissioned by Jean de la Cassière, Grand Master of the Order of St. John, construction of the church began in 1573. It was built according to Gerolamo Cassar's plans. Construction itself took only four years. The elaborate interior, however, was not completed until more than 100 years later. In 1820, Pope Pius VII named it Co-Cathedral. The prefix of Co- is added because the seat of archdiocese Malta's bishop is in Mdina.
How to get there
St. John's Co-Cathedral is located at the centre of Malta's capital Valletta. The closest bus stop is Gang. From there, just follow Triq San Gwann for about 2 minutes until you get to the cathedral.