Fort Delimara

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Fort Delimara_table_infobox_0

Fort DelimaraFort Delimara_header_cell_0_0_0
CoordinatesFort Delimara_header_cell_0_1_0 Fort Delimara_cell_0_1_1
TypeFort Delimara_header_cell_0_2_0 Polygonal fortFort Delimara_cell_0_2_1
AreaFort Delimara_header_cell_0_3_0 24,000 m (260,000 sq ft)Fort Delimara_cell_0_3_1
Site informationFort Delimara_header_cell_0_4_0
OwnerFort Delimara_header_cell_0_5_0 Government of MaltaFort Delimara_cell_0_5_1
Controlled byFort Delimara_header_cell_0_6_0 Heritage MaltaFort Delimara_cell_0_6_1
Open to

the publicFort Delimara_header_cell_0_7_0

NoFort Delimara_cell_0_7_1
ConditionFort Delimara_header_cell_0_8_0 Intact but in danger of collapseFort Delimara_cell_0_8_1
Site historyFort Delimara_header_cell_0_9_0
BuiltFort Delimara_header_cell_0_10_0 1876–1888Fort Delimara_cell_0_10_1
Built byFort Delimara_header_cell_0_11_0 British EmpireFort Delimara_cell_0_11_1
In useFort Delimara_header_cell_0_12_0 1880s–1950sFort Delimara_cell_0_12_1
MaterialsFort Delimara_header_cell_0_13_0 Limestone and ConcreteFort Delimara_cell_0_13_1

Fort Delimara (Maltese: Il-Fortizza ta' Delimara) is a polygonal fort in Marsaxlokk, Malta. Fort Delimara_sentence_0

It was built between 1876 and 1888 by the British as part of a chain of fortifications intended to protect Marsaxlokk Harbour. Fort Delimara_sentence_1

Today, the fort is still intact but is in need of restoration, and is in danger of collapse due to coastal erosion. Fort Delimara_sentence_2

History Fort Delimara_section_0

The fort was built between 1876 and 1888 by the British. Fort Delimara_sentence_3

The main gate carries a date of 1881, but this is the date of completion of the gatehouse, not the commissioning of the fort. Fort Delimara_sentence_4

Fort Delimara was one of a ring of forts and batteries that protected Marsaxlokk harbour, along with Fort Tas-Silġ at the shoreward end of Delimara point, Fort San Lucian on Kbira point in the middle of Marsaxlokk bay, Fort Benghisa on Benghisa Point, and the Pinto and Ferreti batteries on the shores of Marsaxlokk Bay. Fort Delimara_sentence_5

The nearby 17th century Delimara Tower was demolished to clear Fort Delimara's line of fire. Fort Delimara_sentence_6

On 29 March 1903, defective bombs which were stored at Fort Delimara prior to being disposed of accidentally detonated after children tampered with a bomb in an attempt to open it, killing four. Fort Delimara_sentence_7

In 1956 the fort was stripped of the majority of its artillery. Fort Delimara_sentence_8

Soon after, the fort was abandoned for a considerable period, and in 1975 it was leased by the Government of Malta to a local farmer, who used it to raise pigs from 1982 to 2005. Fort Delimara_sentence_9

After protracted negotiations, ownership of Fort Delimara was transferred to Heritage Malta on 11 August 2005. Fort Delimara_sentence_10

The agency pays an annual rent of €764 to the government for the fort. Fort Delimara_sentence_11

Despite the pigs and a considerable amount of modern debris, the fort still retains four of its original complement of fourteen Victorian 12.5-inch 38 ton rifled muzzle-loading guns mounted on dwarf carriages. Fort Delimara_sentence_12

The site is in a derelict condition and is under the responsibility of Heritage Malta. Fort Delimara_sentence_13

There are plans to restore the fort and open it as a museum, but nothing materialized so far. Fort Delimara_sentence_14

It is currently not open to the public. Fort Delimara_sentence_15

Layout Fort Delimara_section_1

Fort Delimara is mostly underground, with the fort's main armament mounted in casemates set in the cliffs on the shoreward face of Delimara Point. Fort Delimara_sentence_16

At the surface it is a polygonal fort, hexagonal in outline, with rock cut ditches on four sides, and the gently curving vertical cliff forming the fifth and sixth sides. Fort Delimara_sentence_17

Ventilation apertures and access passageways are spread out across the face of the cliff, and even out onto the seaward face of Delimara Point. Fort Delimara_sentence_18

Gatehouse Fort Delimara_section_2

The ditches are edged with revetting, with the upper scarp faced in earth and rubble. Fort Delimara_sentence_19

A stone parapet with rifle loops runs along the top of the north scarp. Fort Delimara_sentence_20

A square building above the gate may be a later addition from the early twentieth century, when the fort was used as a military base long after its surface fortifications were obsolete. Fort Delimara_sentence_21

A World War II-era pillbox has been erected inside the Victorian fortification, and shows above the fort's profile when viewed from the sea. Fort Delimara_sentence_22

The gatehouse faces toward the landward end of Delimara Point, reached by a tarmac road that runs outside the north ditch. Fort Delimara_sentence_23

The gatehouse is close to the seaward end of the north ditch. Fort Delimara_sentence_24

Counterscarp battery Fort Delimara_section_3

A counterscarp battery at the north end of the east ditch commands the north ditch and the gatehouse. Fort Delimara_sentence_25

Presumably there is a counterscarp battery at the south end of the east ditch covering the south ditch, since there are no caponniers visible in the ditch. Fort Delimara_sentence_26

East and south ditches Fort Delimara_section_4

The glacis in front of the gatehouse has probably been reduced at some time to make road access easier, and the rolling bridge that would originally have crossed the ditch has been replaced by a permanent bridge. Fort Delimara_sentence_27

The road to Delimara Lighthouse along the east ditch of the fort disrupts the glacis on this face as well. Fort Delimara_sentence_28

The glacis is more intact along the south ditch, giving a better impression of how the fort would have looked when originally built. Fort Delimara_sentence_29

Seaward face and gun emplacements Fort Delimara_section_5

The seaward face of the fort is dominated by the massive stone and concrete casemates that originally sheltered the fort's 12.5 inch rifled muzzle loading guns. Fort Delimara_sentence_30

The casemates are grouped in pairs close to the cliff top, capped by an earth and rubble slope, and follow the natural curve of the cliff face, giving them a combined field of fire that covers the majority of Marsaxlokk harbour. Fort Delimara_sentence_31

Present condition Fort Delimara_section_6

Externally the fort is in fair condition. Fort Delimara_sentence_32

Like all the polygonal forts in Malta, the limestone faces of the scarp and counterscarp have eroded substantially since they were originally cut, in places to a depth of as much as a metre. Fort Delimara_sentence_33

In some cases this erosion has reached the point that the revetting collapses into the ditch. Fort Delimara_sentence_34

Where the road to Delimara Lighthouse runs along the east ditch of the fort, directly above the counterscarp face of the ditch a section of perhaps ten metres the counterscarp has collapsed into the ditch, and threatens the stability of the road. Fort Delimara_sentence_35

The resulting rubble fall can be seen in the image of the east ditch. Fort Delimara_sentence_36

The ditch is also considerably overgrown, and polluted with general rubbish, unfortunately true of all the Victorian forts in Malta. Fort Delimara_sentence_37

There is currently no public access to the interior of the fort. Fort Delimara_sentence_38

The fort is in danger of collapse, mainly due to coastal erosion and wave action which were only made worse with the building of the Delimara Power Station and the breakwater of the Malta Freeport nearby. Fort Delimara_sentence_39

Parts of the nearby cliff face have already collapsed. Fort Delimara_sentence_40

No plans have been made for the restoration of the fort, mainly due to a lack of funds. Fort Delimara_sentence_41

Din l-Art Ħelwa said that restoration would cost millions of euros and take about 10 years. Fort Delimara_sentence_42

In 2015, the fort was shortlisted as a possible site for the campus of the proposed American University of Malta. Fort Delimara_sentence_43

It was not chosen, and the campus is to be split up between Dock No. Fort Delimara_sentence_44

1 in Cospicua and Żonqor Point in Marsaskala. Fort Delimara_sentence_45

In popular culture Fort Delimara_section_7

Fort Delimara_unordered_list_0

  • The fort was used in the filming of the 2016 film Assassin's Creed.Fort Delimara_item_0_0

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: Delimara.