Malta made history on Saturday night with the biggest party the island has ever seen.
More than 80,000 people watched as Valletta was crowned the European Capital of Culture for 2018.
The capital city’s four main squares each hosted spectacular performances in a night described by thousands on 89.7 Bay‘s social media platforms as ‘amazing’, ‘magical’ and ‘brilliant’.
Organisers estimated between 80,000 and 100,000 attended the celebrations on Saturday night.
Malta Police said there were no arrests despite the massive crowd.
More than 400 events have been planned for Valletta 2018 over the next 12 months, based around three main themes: ‘Voyages’, ‘Island Stories’ and ‘Future Baroque’.
The brand new Triton Square was the main focus of the night with an outstanding performance by La Fura dels Baus, is a Spanish theatre company and 60 Maltese acrobats at the restored Triton Fountain.
In Castille Square, 3D mapping projections on the Auberge de Castille combined CGI components, music and visual special effects.
St George’s Square hosted a dance and ballet show followed by a massive music concert featuring the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, Maltese DJ Tenishia and Bay Breakfast duo Daniel and Ylenia.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of Valletta 2018, President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca said Malta should be proud of its ‘unique history’.
She said: ‘Valletta may be the smallest capital city in terms of size in the European Union, but we have lived up to the challenge to assume a mammoth task in coordinating a programme of impressive magnitude.’
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The President added: ‘Our unique culture is made up of the best elements in a most harmonious spirit of people.
‘When we acknowledge, respect and value our diverse cultures, we make a real investment in the essential strategies for social inclusion, solidarity and peace, while also ensuring prosperous, just, fair and equitable economies.’
She urged people from overseas who might be planning their 2018 holidays to visit Malta, and join the Maltese in celebrating the ‘year-long festa.’
Read more: Valletta 2018