Ethnography Museum Malta and The Inquisitor’s Palace at Vittoriosa Malta

inquisitor's palace & museum malta

The Inquisitor’s Palace in Vittoriosa, also houses the Ethnography Museum Malta.

Built in 1530, the palace was used as the civil law courts of the Knights of Malta.

The place became the seat of Malta’s Inquisition from 1574 till 1798.

The palace survived several bombings during World War II.

It is the only Inquisitor’s Palace in the world which is open to the public.

One of the highlights of the palace is the lovely central courtyard on the ground floor.

At the back of the ground floor, there are the prison cells with only a tiny high window for natural light.

You can still see the graffiti on the walls of the cells made by the prisoners of those days!

A grand Baroque staircase leads you to the upper floor of the palace. Here you will find the Chancery with its wooden ceiling and 63 coat of arms of Malta’s Inquisitors.

Next to the Chancery, there’s the Waiting Room and also the Audience Hall.

The highlight of the upper floor is the austere Tribunal Room. As soon as you enter, you will immediately notice the huge contrast between the imposing Inquisitor’s throne and the low simple stool where the accused used to be seated.

Behind is a tiny door, which was specifically designed this way so that even the most stubborn prisoners will have to bow to the Inquisitor.

Today, the palace is also home to the Museum of Ethnography. This museum is dedicated to the many popular religious traditions and values which have been present in the Maltese culture for many centuries and still are to this day.

Items on display in this museum include items relating to old Maltese Christmas traditions, clayed figurines, vernacular stone statues, sacred art, church models, sculptures and other religious items.

The main exhibit areas are found in the tribunal room, the kitchen and the prison complex of the palace.

Getting there

If you're going by bus, visit to get an idea of the best bus to take to get to the museum and palace.

If you’re going by car, drive towards Cospicua (also known as Bormla locally) and Vittoriosa (also known as Birgu). Park in the main square or outside the city gate. The palace is a few minutes away.

Inquisitor’s Palace and Ethnography Museum Malta

Location: Main Gate Street, Birgu Malta

Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday from 9.00 am till 5.00 pm. Closed on the 24th, 25th and 31st of December, 1st of January and Good Friday.

Entrance Fee: Euro 6.00. (Discounts apply for children, students and senior citizens). If you’re also visiting the Maritime Museum which is close by, you can buy a Multi-Site ticket.

Telephone: 21 827 006


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