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Mission & Vision Statement 

 
To promote the development of a secure, just and inclusive society where every citizen’s rights and freedoms are safeguarded in an equitable and secure environment.
 
A brief History of our location:
 

Auberge D'Aragon

 
The Auberge d'Aragon is one of the great inns or habitations built for the nationalities colloquially known as 'languages' within the Order of St. John. It was planned and designed by the legendary Maltese architect Girolamo Cassar soon after the laying of the foundation stone of Valletta in 1566. It stands in what is now Independence Square .
 
Valletta was named after Jean Parisot de La Vallette, Grand Master of the Order of St John . He was the inspiring force that led the knight monks to their proudest victory against the Imperial Turkish fleet of Soliman the Magnificent. His conventual city, sited on the peninsula of Mount Sceberras and designed by the formidable architect Francesco Laparelli, lays claim to being the first completely planned city of Europe . Girolamo Cassar took charge after Laparelli left the island. Cassar was already respected for his work for the Order at Birgu. He became responsible for the design of all the Auberges, the Magisterial Palace and the Conventual Church .
 
The Auberge d'Aragon survives almost in its original form, with all the hallmarks of a Cassar building. It is recorded that the site was purchased in the acts of the Maltese Notary Placido Abela on 20 th September 1569 for the sum of 80 scudi and 8 tari. The place for accommodation in the submerge is not really satisfactory and the Knights attached to this particular inn lived in a nearby property, part of which is now the Manoel Theatre.
 
The earthquake of 1693 damaged the Auberge and left it in a sad state and in urgent need of repair. The architect Frederick Blondel reported that the façade and the adjacent wall running down Strada Ponente were damaged and dislodged.
 
Towards the middle of the 18 th Century more accommodation was added on a piece of land overlooking Marsamxetto. The later addition of the portico was a naïve attempt at piling prestige onto the venerable old building.
 
The Auberge d'Aragon is a palace of simple design, built not as the ultimate and prestigious edifice of the Knights of Aragon would aspire to, but as a necessary and functional religious inn. Today it stands proud as one of the major buildings of the city.
 
The Auberge d'Aragon is perhaps of particular interest to the Maltese nation because of its very name. Malta was ruled by Aragon long before the advent of the Knights. A number of Maltese families are proud of their Aragonese descent, sometimes in the legitimate line of Frederick II and sometimes in the other line descending from his mistress, Sibilla Sormella.
 
The Auberge was administered by a grand gentleman knight known as the bali, also known as the Grand Conservator, who was responsible for the purchasing of food and clothing and for the provision of transport and everything necessary for both the hospitals and the troops. Life at the Auberge was, to all intents and purposes, monastic with regular holy masses to attend and offices to be said. Obedience was practiced and fasting was obligatory. Thursdays and Sundays were slightly different and the residents used to dine in the refectory, the largest room in the edifice.
 
When Napoleon came to Malta in 1798 the knights of the language of Aragon were made to pack their bags and leave their adopted homeland. French soldiers replaced the noble defenders at the Auberge, albeit for a short period of time. When the British came to Malta in 1800, following the surrender of the French Garrison, the Auberge d'Aragon was requisitioned by the Quartermaster. It was temporarily let in portions to various tenants. Between 1822 and 1824 it served as the government printing press.
 
Tenants at the Auberge included Sir John Richardson, Colonel Sir Frederick Hankey, Chief secretary to the Government of Malta and one Dr Tomlinson Protestant Lord Bishop of Gibraltar who in 1842 took residence at the Auberge. He changed the name of the historic palace to 'Gibraltar House' and is alleged to have tried to change Strada Vescovo ( Bishop Street ) to Strada Vescovi ( Bishops Street ). It is probably at this time that the steps outside the front door were removed to be replaced by a doric portico. Perhaps because the Lord Bishop was frequently away on pastoral visits the Auberge was let on a very short lease to a Captain Stewart RN, who could have been Admiral Sir Houston Stewart, one time member of the Malta Council of Government.
 
In 1921, when Malta was granted a certain amount of self-government, the Auberge was turned into a school. Following Sir Ugo Mifsud's election as nationalist prime Minister in 1924 the Auberge once again changed role and became the official seat of the Prime Minister. With the suspension of the constitution and with war starting in 1939 the Auberge was made available to the British Institute.
 
Since the return of self-government in 1947 four prime Ministers have used Auberge d'Aragon as their office starting with Sir Paul Boffa, the first Labour Prime Minister of Malta . Boffa was followed by Dr Enrico Mizzi in 1950 and Dr Giorgio Borg Olivier who succeeded Nerik Mizzi after the latter died in office.
 
It was Dr Borg Olivier who successfully negotiated sovereign Independence for the Maltese Islands . The historic table at which many discussions were held survives in the old refectory of the Auberge.
 
Mr. Dom Mintoff who won the 1971 General Election moved the Office of the Prime Minister out of the Auberge d'Aragon to the more opulent and majestic Auberge de Castille. Ms Agatha Barbara, who eventually became Malta 's first woman President, took over the Auberge d'Aragon for her Ministry of Education and Culture. The change in Government in 1987 saw Mr. John Dalli in as Parliamentary Secretary for Industry and later as Minister for Economic Affairs.
 
Later the Auberge housed the Ministry for Economic Services headed by Dr George Bonello Dupius and later by Dr Josef Bonnici. After the 2003 election the Auberge housed the Ministry of Finance and Economic Services. In March 2004 the Auberge d'Aragon became the office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Justice and Home Affairs, Dr Tonio Borg. After the 2008 election the Auberge d'Aragon became the office of Dr. Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici as Minsiter for Justice and Home Affairs and subsequently in 2012 as Minister for Home and Parliamentary Affairs.
 
 

House of Catalunya

 
The so-called House of Catalunya in Marsamxetto Road, Valletta originally consisted of three fine Baroque houses built in 1692-1694 at the expense of the Langue of Aragon to house the Knights of the Priory of Catalunya. Part of the land on which the new priory was built had been acquired as far back as 20 September 1569 by the Knights Antiguo de Cabrera and Martino de Lawrie acting on behalf and in representation of the Langue of Aragon, this for the purpose of building their grand auberge which, on completion, only occupied part of this acquired land. The rest of the land to accommodate the new Priory of Catalunya was purchased in 1692 during the grand mastership of the Frenchman Adrien de Wignacourt. When completed, the three houses of the Priory of Catalunya were separated from the 16th century Auberge of Aragon by a narrow lane. (Prof. Denis De Lucca).