Granaries are pits dug into the ground and covered by circular stone slabs. They were primarily used for the storage of Grain. Granaries can be found throughout Valletta and Floriana. The first granaries were built by the Knights to provide for storage within the fortifications in case of a siege. As the system of storage was reliable and efficient, the British authorities copied in all details the Knights’ granaries. The Granaries proved their worth as they continued to provide grain for the starving population during World War 2. The highest grouping of granaries (a total of 76) is found here.
‘Il-Fosos’ or The Granaries and now officially named Pjazza San Publiju, is also one of the largest urban open spaces in Malta and is therefore use for mass gatherings. One important gathering was held in May 1990 during the Pope John Paul II visit to Malta. During the second Papal visit on 9th May 2001, the Pope beatified three Maltese in this square, one of whom was eventually canonised (St Gorg Preca). As Malta is a predominantly Catholic country, this is considered to be an important event in Malta’s history. A third papal visit took place on 18th April 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI. The Isle of MTV summer festival is among other major events held here.