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Auberge de Baviére

The Auberge de Baviére, the last Auberge to be built in Valletta, is situated in Saint Sebastian Street, next to the Bastion of Saint Sebastian overlooking Marsamxett Harbour, and near to the War Museum and Fort Saint Elmo. It was built at the end of the 17th century and housed the Knights belonging to the Anglo-Bavarian langue.

History

The eighth Auberge was built in 1696 as a private palace by Fra Gaspare Carniero, Bali of Acre, on the site of an old lime-kiln. The building was designed by the Maltese architect Carlo Gimach, who was a personal friend of Carniero. The structure is one of the last examples of austere and staid architecture of the century, being, unlike the other Auberges, quite plain.

Between 1702 and 1719, the Palace was rented to Fr Ottavio Zondadari, Pope Alexander VII’s nephew, who became Grand Master in 1720 and who continued to use it as his residence till his death in 1722. In 1782, the Elector of Bavaria bought the Palazzo for 20,000 scudi, and began to use it to house the newly formed Anglo-Bavarian langue. The Anglo-Bavarian Knights were entrusted with the defence of Saint Lazarus Bastion and their Chief was the Commander of Cavalry and the Coast Guard.

The Anglo-Bavarian Knights left Malta with the rest of the Order in 1798, and in 1824, the building was handed over to the British Military Authorities, who returned it to the Civil Government after Malta was granted self-governance in 1921.

It has been used as a school and more recently, to house various government departments and entities. The Land Department was situated in the building between 1979 and 1997, after which is was used as the corporate base of the Government Property Department. In 2001, an extensive rehabilitation project was undertaken to make the building more suitable for the functioning needs of the Government Property Division.

Being a functioning government building, the Auberge is not accessible to the public.

The Hospitaller Order of St John in Malta

The monastic hospitaller Order of the Knights of Saint John, also known as the Knights Hospitallers, was originally established in 1085 as a community of monks responsible for tending the sick at the Hospital of St. John in Jerusalem, during the crusades. They later evolved into a military order, defending crusader territory in the Holy Lands and safeguarding the perilous routes taken by medieval pilgrims. Following the conquest of the Holy Land by Islamic forces, the Order operated from Rhodes, over which it was sovereign, and later from Malta where it administered a vassal state under the Spanish viceroy of Sicily. (more)

Text: Melisande Aquilina