Republic Square was named after Malta was declared a Republic in 1974. Originally called Piazza Tesoreria, it is now known amongst the locals as Pjazza Reġina, because of Queen Victoria’s statue, which was placed here in 1891. Victoria never visited Malta though she loved to wear Maltese lace. Behind the statue is the Biblioteca, the National Library of Malta, designed by the Polish Italian artist, Steffano Ittar, and completed in 1796. It was originally called the Biblioteca Tanseana because the collection of Louis Guérin de Tencin formed the main part of the library. It was finally opened in 1812 and has been called the National Library of Malta since 1976.
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