Inquisitor’s Palace was the seat of the Maltese Inquisition in the years 1574 – 1798. It was known then as the Palazzo del Sant’Officio. The building was originally built at the beginning of the 16th century as the seat of a court known as Castellania, but little remained of the original construction due to the many construction changes and renovations in the following centuries.
After the liquidation of the Inquisition in 1798 during the French occupation of Malta, the palace served as a military hospital, a canteen and a monastery. Since 1966, there is a museum in it, known since 1992 as the National Museum of Ethnography. The building is one of several such palaces surviving in the world, and the only one open to the public.
The Inquisitor’s Palace was handed over to the Museum Department in 1926, and until 1939 Vincenzo Bonello and Antonio Sciortino performed various restoration works at the palace. In 1942, the palace was transformed into a temporary Dominican monastery after the original monastery and church were bombed during World War II. The palace survived the war undamaged, it was transferred back to the Museum department in 1954, after the Dominican monastery was rebuilt.
The palace building was renovated and opened as a museum called Inquisitor’s Palace in 1966. On the first floor in 1981, the Folklore Museum was established, but since the late 1980s the museum has deteriorated and only part of it has been accessible to the public. In 1992, the National Museum of Ethnograph was opened in the palace and, in addition to the museum section, there is also the ethnographic section of Heritage Malta. The reconstruction and renewal of its subsequent parties are still underway in the building.
In addition to exhibits related to the Inquisition, the collection also includes various wooden models of destroyed architectural objects, including Vittorios’ performances from bomb destruction during World War II, the Valletta bakery before destruction in the 1930s and Manderaggio before reconstruction in 1950.
The building was placed on the Antiquities List of 1925. Today it is a national class 1 monument and is listed on the National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands.
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The Inquisitor’s Palace opening hours
Monday – Sunday: 09.00 – 17.00
Last admission: 16.30.
Adults (18 – 59): €6.00
Infants (1 – 5): Free
Children (6 – 11): €3.00
Youths (12 – 17): €4.50
Senior Citizens (60 & over): €4.50
The Inquisitor’s Palace
Main Gate Street,
Vittoriosa BRG 1023
Tel: +356 21 827 006