Malta MCC

Valletta’s Imposing Former Hospital Has Two Unique Visitor Experiences You Won’t Want to Miss

Written by Albert Fenech
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Valletta’s imposing former hospital, once one of the best and biggest in Europe, is now a major event and conference venue and home to The Malta Experience, a must-see!

Built as a hospital in the 16th century by the Order of St John, and known by the name Sacra Infermeria or the Holy Infirmary, this building sits on the northeast edge of Valletta and offers magnificent views over the Grand Harbour. It was once one of the leading hospitals in Europe with a capacity to care for thousands of patients. Today the building is known as the Mediterranean Conference Centre (MCC) or Dar il-Mediterran, and is used for banquets, exhibitions, conventions, product launches, parties, weddings, theatrical shows and concerts.

For visitors not invited to the ball, don’t worry. There are  two distinct ways to visit MCC and learn some Maltese history: The Malta Experience and Reliving the Sacra Infermeria, two must-sees when in Valletta.

Valletta MCC

The MCC in Valletta hosts numerous performances and events throughout the year. (photo courtesy of Heritage Malta)

The Malta Experience

The Malta Experience is an audio-visual show that tells the dramatic story of the islands’ 7,000-year history though beautiful images and poignant commentary. Educational, informative and entertaining, the show runs 45 minutes and details the turbulent history of a small island nation that has overcome almost unimaginable odds to survive and prosper. Showings are every day except for a few Sundays during the height of summer.

€20 entry for those 12 and up; €15.50 for students with a valid student ID; €9 for children aged 5 to 1; free for children under 4.

Reliving the Sacra Infermia

Technology meets history with a mobile application that enables visitors to travel back in time and meet the historic Knights of St John through holographic displays, interactive games, and a walk in the footsteps of those who  worked here centuries ago when it was a hospital. You’ll also have exclusive access to the Grand Harbour Terrace to learn about every point of interest surrounding the magnificent harbour.

Pick your dates online and book tickets. €6 for adults, €4 for seniors and students.

The experience is available in multiple international languages including Maltese, English, Italian, German, French and Spanish.

Valletta MCC

The  picturesque La Valette Hall venue is the main Banqueting Hall at MCC and one of the most popular for weddings

About the Building

The MCC is one of Valletta’s most remarkable structures, and one of the building’s main attractions is a hall that measures 155 metres long, referred to as the ‘Great Ward’. Over the course of many years, the building has gradually transitioned and been renovated, finally becoming the MCC in 1979. It has been a popular meet up spot for concerts, corporations, conferences, and parties ever since.

Its varied and spacious rooms, stages, equipment and facilities have made MCC a top venue for international events, and with its historic halls and views of the Grand Harbour, it’s one of the top wedding venues in Malta, especially La Valette Hall, an architectural gem with splendid vaulted ceilings and the ability to seat 900 of your closest friends and family.

An investment of roughly €2.5 million created 1,300 square metres of rooftop that is now home to an open-air bar and restaurant called the Grand Harbour Terrace, which can accommodate up to 600 and offers a commanding view of the Grand Harbour.

Brief Hospital History

In 1574, the then Grandmaster of St John’s Hospitaliers, Jean de la Cassiere, to conform to their calling as Hospitaliers, ordered the construction of a large infirmary to provide medical care for the knights and their galley crews.

In its initial days The Sacra Infermeria employed the highest standards of medical treatment and hygiene, including using tableware made of silver—not for embellishment but because this was easier and more practical to clean properly.

When the British Government represented by Lord Horatio Nelson took over the administration of the Islands and Malta was inducted into the British Empire, British Forces appropriated the building for their sick and wounded military personnel and the infirmary became known as the General Garrison Hospital.

Thus, during World War I, Malta earned the richly-deserved title of “Nurse of the Mediterranean”, providing medical care for thousands of sick and wounded servicemen.

 

Valletta

Reliving the Sacra Infermeria is a fun experience for any age

A Police HQ

At the end of this World War, the building took a new and unexpected turn when it became Malta Police Headquarters and stalls were provided for the horses of Mounted Police. This was short-lived and in May 1940, with World War II raging over Malta, the building was closed after it was heavily bombed.  Over the course of many years, the building was gradually reconstructed and renovated and in 1979 became known as the Mediterranean Conference Centre or Dar Il-Mediterran (the House of the Mediterranean).

MCC Today

The sheer size of the space is impressive. The main auditorium, Republic Hall, seats 1,400 in theatre style, while the elegant and eye-catching La Valette Hall is an impressive banquet space and Instagram darling. An array of individually-styled smaller halls can be adapted for more intimate receptions and modest-scale conferences and seminars. In total, the centre offers an area of over 7,000 square meters of event space.

The MCC is also equipped with an in-house fully-staffed kitchen situated below the La Valette Hall with the capability to provide food service for up to 4,000 a day.

 

Valletta MCC

The former hospital building sits at the edge of Valletta’s Grand Harbour 

 

 

Contact

Address: North Street, Valletta, Malta

Telephone: 0356 2559 5275

Booking and sales: sales@mcc.com.mt

Website: mcc.com.mt

Transport: Drive to Valletta or public bus to Valletta Terminal

***

 

BeSeeingYou In: Valletta, Malta

Good To Know: MCC is home to an array of events and experience

WOW! Factor: Built in the 16th century as a hospital

Tip:  Book tickets online. Dates fill up fast.

 

Author bio: Albert Fenech

e/mail – salina46af@gmail.com

Find more travel inspiration at BeSeeingYou

 

 

 

Albert Fenech
Born in 1946, Albert Fenech’s family took up UK residence in 1954 where he spent his boyhood and youth before temporarily returning to Malta between 1957 and 1959 and then coming back to Malta permanently in 1965. He spent eight years as a full-time journalist with “The Times of Malta” before taking up a career in HR Management and Administration with a leading construction company building the Benghazi Hospital in Libya, later with Malta Insurance Brokers, Malta’s leading insurance Broker and finally STMicroelectronics Malta, employing 3,000 employees and Malta’s leading industrial manufacturer. Throughout he actively pursued freelance journalism and broadcasting for various media outlets covering social issues, current affairs, sports and travel. He was Publications Editor for the Malta Football Association for 25 years and has written for a number of publications both in Malta and overseas, as well as publishing two e-books.

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