When moving to Valetta along the main road through its lovely Floriana suburb, tourists can admire a stunning view of Porte des Bombes, which is as splendid arched gate designed in rich Baroque style. It is outlined by picturesque parkways and stands surrounded by powerful old-time fortifications, offering a perfect background for an exciting photoshoot.
The gateway was built in 1720 as a part of strong Floriana fortifications intended to support defensive constructions of Valetta. Originally, it was called Porta dei Cannoni for its pilasters, which decorated the facade and resembled the outline of cannons. In those days, the gateway featured one entrance and was joined with ramparts on the both sides. It was decorated with the Order of Saint John coats of arms and was designed to protect the Knights of Malta from a possible Ottoman invasion.
Instead, the fortifications were used during a siege of the French garrison in Valletta by the British Navy between 1798 and 1800. In 1868, the gate design suffered changes on the initiative of the British authorities: a second entrance was added to increase the gate capacity and some decorative elements were replaced or added. In the early 20th century, there were more changes coming from the increased traffic (for example, at that time the gateway was cut off from the ramparts). Moreover, Porte des Bombes suffered during World War II bombings, but in the early 2000s, a large-scale restoration was carried out, including installing of modern lighting.
Nowadays, Porte des Bombes is a historical and architectural site of the national cultural heritage protected by the Maltese authorities. Tourists can enjoy its stylized pilasters; the façade emblazed with Maltese crosses, British and the Order’s coats of arms; large sculptures topping the archway and two inscriptions on the marble plaques. One of them was installed during the original construction and reads: "Whilst I fight the Turks everywhere I am secure in my seat". The second was added by British and translates from Latin as "For the greater comfort of the population".