Fortifications & Towers
Malta has often been called the ‘Fortress Island’ due to the great mass of military architecture that can be seen everywhere. This is a legacy of the islands’ history which saw them being fought over, time and again, due to their strategic location and deep, safe harbours.
The fortifications that can be seen today come from two distinct periods: those of the Knights and those of the British era. These imposing reminders of the islands’ wartime past fascinate not only because they are a feat of military engineering, but also because they are reminiscent of an age of chivalry, crusading, heroism and legendary battles.
Indoors, start at museums such as the Maritime Museum in Vittoriosa, the National War Museum and the Armoury, both in Valletta. Outdoors, stroll along Valletta’s bastions or venture a tour of the Victoria Lines fortifications running along the Great Fault east to west across Malta. Wherever you go, you’ll find remnants of war, from 17th century coastal forts and watch towers to WWII pillboxes.
Dwejra, limits of San Lawrenz, Gozo
Dwejra Tower is situated just off the road leading to the small enclosed bay at Dwejra in Gozo, known as the ‘inland sea’. It was completed in 1652 and periodically used by British forces up to the second World War when it was used as an observation post.
Triq Madliena, Madliena, Malta
Fort Madalena was built by the British as part of the defences for the north east of the island. It is now the Headquarters and Training School of the St. John’s Rescue Corps – Malta.
Manoel Island, Gżira, Malta
Fort Manoel is a fortification located on Manoel Island in Marsamxett Harbour.
Fort St. Angelo
Vittoriosa Waterfront, Vittoriosa, Malta
Fort St. Angelo is the jewel in the crown of The Maltese Islands’ military heritage. According to legend, the fort stands on the site of a fortified Roman settlement.
Fort St. Elmo
St. Elmo Place, Valletta, Malta
Guarding the approaches to both Grand and Marsamxett Harbours is Fort St Elmo. It was the scene of a heroic defence during the Great Siege of 1565.
Triq it Torri ta’ Għallis, Salina limits of Naxxar, Malta
This is one of thirteen watch towers built by Grand Master de Redin between 1658 and 1659.