Fortifications of Malta

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The fortifications of Malta consist of a number of walled cities, citadels, forts, towers, batteries, redoubts, entrenchments and pillboxes. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_0

The fortifications were built over thousands of years, from around 1450 BC to the mid-20th century, and they are a result of the Maltese islands' strategic position and natural harbours, which have made them very desirable for various powers. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_1

The earliest known fortifications in Malta are defensive walls built around Bronze Age settlements. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_2

The Phoenicians, Romans and Byzantines built a number of defensive walls around important settlements, but very little remains of these survive today. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_3

By the late medieval period, the main fortifications on Malta were the capital Mdina, the Cittadella on Gozo, the Castrum Maris and a few coastal towers or lookout posts. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_4

The fortifications of Malta were greatly improved while the islands were ruled by the Order of St. John between 1530 and 1798. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_5

The Hospitallers built new bastioned fortifications, such as the fortifications of Birgu and Valletta, and upgraded the medieval defences. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_6

By the end of the 18th century, Malta had extensive fortifications around the Grand Harbour and Marsamxett, as well as a coastal defence system consisting of towers, batteries, redoubts and entrenchments. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_7

Following a brief French occupation, the islands fell under British rule in 1800. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_8

Between the 1870s and the 1900s a number of polygonal forts and batteries were built around Malta's coastline and along the Great Fault. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_9

In the 1930s and 1940s, Fort Campbell, a series of pillboxes and a number of anti-aircraft batteries were constructed, and these were the last fortifications to be built in Malta. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_10

Malta's fortifications are considered to be among the best examples of military architecture anywhere in the world. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_11

Major General Whitworth Porter of the Royal Engineers, called Malta "the most powerful artificial fortress in the world" in his 1858 book A History of the Fortress of Malta. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_12

In his 1893 book The Story of Malta, Maturin Murray Ballou wrote that "there is not a more complete system of fortifications extant, in any part of the world, than the cordon of defensive structures at Malta." Fortifications of Malta_sentence_13

The British architect Quentin Hughes referred to Malta's fortifications as "for sheer concentration and majesty quite unmatched", while judge and historian Giovanni Bonello said that "nowhere in the world are fortifications more extensive, more impressive, more outstanding than they are in Malta." Fortifications of Malta_sentence_14

Ancient and Medieval fortifications (pre-1530) Fortifications of Malta_section_0

The first fortifications in Malta were built during the Bronze Age. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_15

At least six sites have been identified as possible fortified settlements. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_16

The best preserved of these is the village of Borġ in-Nadur, close to the modern town of Birżebbuġa. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_17

Around 1450 BC, the inhabitants of the village built a 4.5m high D-shaped bastion to bar access to their village. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_18

The wall was built facing inland, showing that the people living in the village were more afraid of attacks from the land than from the sea. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_19

In around 700 BC, the Phoenicians founded and fortified the city of Maleth on one of the highest points of the island, far away from the sea. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_20

Eventually the city was taken over by the Roman Empire and it was renamed Melite. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_21

The city was again renamed Medina by the Arabs which led to its present name Mdina. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_22

Its fortifications were modified a number of times over time, and although most were dismantled and rebuilt between the 16th and 18th centuries, some foundations of the ancient Punic-Roman ramparts, as well as various medieval remains, were recently discovered during excavations. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_23

The remains of several round towers have been found in Malta, and they are believed to date back to the late Punic or Roman periods. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_24

It is possible that these were used as watchtowers, but some historians dispute this since their locations do not really make sense in defensive systems. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_25

According to Al-Himyarī, when the Arabs captured Malta in 870 AD, they besieged, captured, sacked and dismantled a fortress. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_26

By 1241, the Gran Castello or Cittadella on Gozo was definitely fortified, although a settlement on the hill had existed since the Bronze Age. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_27

The city's fortifications were improved over the years, and the northern walls of the city that still stand today were built around the 15th century by the Crown of Aragon. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_28

The Castrum Maris was built sometime in the Middle Ages. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_29

The castle definitely existed by the 13th century, and it was involved in the Battle of Malta of 1283. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_30

By the early 16th century, it belonged to the de Nava family. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_31

In 1417, the local militia had at least 24 watch posts around the Maltese islands, and in some cases there might have been fortified coastal watchtowers at these posts. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_32

One of these towers is known to have been built at St Elmo Point on the Sciberras Peninsula by the Aragonese in 1488. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_33

Hospitaller fortifications (1530–1798) Fortifications of Malta_section_1

Harbour area Fortifications of Malta_section_2

In 1530, the Maltese islands along with the North African port city of Tripoli were given to the Order of Saint John by Emperor Charles V. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_34

The knights settled in the town of Birgu and made it their capital. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_35

Soon after their arrival, the Order rebuilt the Castrum Maris, calling it Fort Saint Angelo. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_36

Later on, the entire town of Birgu began to be surrounded by new fortifications, in a similar style to the Order's earlier defences in Rhodes. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_37

Birgu's land front was built by 1540. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_38

Following the attack of 1551, the Order realised the need to build more defences. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_39

Two forts were built in 1552: Fort Saint Elmo at the tip of the Sciberras Peninsula, on the site of an Aragonese watchtower, and Fort Saint Michael on Isola. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_40

In 1553, a new fortified city began to be built around Fort Saint Michael, and it was named Senglea after the Grand Master who built it. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_41

In 1565, the Ottomans attacked again in the Great Siege of Malta. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_42

Fort Saint Elmo fell after fierce fighting (in which the Ottoman general Dragut Reis was killed), but the knights held out in Birgu and Senglea until a relief force arrived. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_43

By the end of the siege, most of the fortifications had been destroyed in the attacks, so they were rebuilt. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_44

The Grand Master, Jean Parisot de Valette, decided to build a new fortified capital on the Sciberras Peninsula. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_45

The first stone of the new city was laid down in 1566, and it was called Valletta. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_46

The city walls, which were constructed mainly in the 1560s and 1570s, remain largely intact to this day, and they include bastions, cavaliers, counterguards and a ditch. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_47

The ruined Fort Saint Elmo was rebuilt and integrated into the city walls. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_48

The area around St Elmo was strengthened a number of times later on in the 17th century, especially by the building of the Carafa Enceinte in 1687. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_49

With the development of new technologies, by the 17th century it was realised that while Valletta's fortifications were well designed, they were not strong enough to withstand a heavy attack. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_50

Because of this, the Floriana Lines, encircling Valletta's original land front, were built from 1635 to the 1640s. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_51

In the 18th century, a suburb developed between the Floriana Lines and Valletta's land front, and it became known as Floriana, today a town in its own right. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_52

In 1638, the Santa Margherita Lines began to be built encircling the land fronts of Birgu and Sengela. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_53

Works were suspended in 1645 due to a lack of funds, and they remained unfinished for many years. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_54

Following the fall of Candia to the Ottomans in 1669, a second line of fortifications, the Cottonera Lines, began to be built encircling both Birgu and Senglea, as well as the unfinished Santa Margherita Lines. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_55

They were begun in 1670, but works stopped in 1680 again due to a lack of funds. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_56

By this time, the bastioned enceinte had been built, although other crucial parts had not yet been constructed. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_57

Eventually, some effort was done to complete both the Santa Margherita and Cottonera Lines in the early 18th century, although some of the planned ravelins, cavaliers, ditch and other fortifications were never constructed. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_58

Fort San Salvatore was built on one of the Cottonera Lines bastions in 1724. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_59

Fort Ricasoli was built between 1670 and 1698 commanding the eastern arm of the Grand Harbour. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_60

It has an irregular plan following the coastline, with bastions, curtains and ravelins. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_61

The fort was improved later on in the 18th century. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_62

Fort Saint Angelo was also extensively modified in the 1690s, when it was upgraded with the building of various batteries and other defences. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_63

From 1723 to 1733, Fort Manoel was built on Manoel Island in Marsamxett Harbour, so as to protect Valletta's western flank. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_64

The Baroque fort is square in shape, with four corner bastions. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_65

It was the last major fort to be built with the bastioned trace in Malta. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_66

The Order's last major fortification in the harbour area was Fort Tigné, built at Tigné Point between 1793 and 1795. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_67

It was built to protect the entrance of Marsamxett, along with Fort Saint Elmo. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_68

The fort's architecture is very different from the Order's earlier forts, and although very small by 18th century standards, it has been described as among the most revolutionary and influential of Malta's fortifications as it is a very early example of a polygonal fort. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_69

Many other polygonal forts were built by the British later on in the 19th century. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_70

Mdina and the Cittadella Fortifications of Malta_section_3

Although Mdina was no longer the capital city, the Order still strengthened the city's defences, and gradually upgraded its medieval walls into a gunpowder fortress. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_71

In the 1540s, during the magistracy of Juan de Homedes y Coscon, two bastions were built on the corners of the city's land front. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_72

The central De Redin Bastion was built by Grand Master Martin de Redin in the mid-17th century. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_73

The city was damaged during the 1693 Sicily earthquake, and repairs were made over the course of the 18th century. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_74

During the rebuilding, the city's entrance was replaced by a larger gate by the architect Charles François de Mondion in 1724, and the last modifications were made in 1746, when Despuig Bastion was completed. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_75

There were other plans to strengthen the city but these were not implemented as the Order focused on the fortifications at the harbour area. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_76

The defences of Gozo's Cittadella were also improved by the Order. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_77

In 1551, the city was devastated by an Ottoman raid which took almost Gozo's entire population as slaves. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_78

The city's entrance and southern walls were later completely rebuilt between 1599 and 1622, although the city's northern walls were retained in their original medieval form. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_79

The early 17th century modifications included the construction of bastions, cavaliers, magazines and a battery. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_80

Coastal fortifications Fortifications of Malta_section_4

Despite the significant fortifications in the harbour area, the rest of the islands remained mostly undefended until the 17th century, and they were prone to attacks (such as the raid of 1551). Fortifications of Malta_sentence_81

This changed in 1605, when Garzes Tower was built in Mġarr on the island of Gozo. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_82

This watchtower no longer exists as it was demolished by the British administration in 1848. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_83

In the following years, more towers were built around the islands. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_84

The first group, the Wignacourt towers, were built between 1610 and 1620. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_85

Six of these were built, and they were more than just watchtowers as they formed significant strongpoints intended to protect vulnerable sections of the coast from attack. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_86

Of the six towers, one collapsed in around 1715 and another was demolished in 1888. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_87

The other four towers survive to this day. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_88

Seven more towers were built between 1637 and 1638. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_89

These were much smaller than the Wignacourt towers, as they were built as watchtowers and a communication link to warn the Order's base in the Grand Harbour of an attack. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_90

In 1647, Saint Agatha's Tower was built in Mellieħa. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_91

This was a large tower intended as a strongpoint, and was built in the style of the Wignacourt towers. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_92

Two more towers were built at Dwejra and Xlendi on Gozo in 1650 and 1652. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_93

The ten towers built between 1637 and 1652 are collectively known as the Lascaris towers after the Grand Master who built them, and nine of them survive to this day. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_94

Another series of towers were built between 1658 and 1659. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_95

Fourteen towers were built in all, which are together known as the De Redin towers. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_96

These were based on the Lascaris towers and had the same function as a communication link. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_97

13 towers were built on mainland Malta having an identical design, and 8 of these survive intact while 2 are in ruins. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_98

The fourteenth tower, Mġarr ix-Xini Tower, was built on Gozo in 1661 with a slightly different design. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_99

The last coastal watchtower to be built was Sopu Tower, which was constructed in Gozo in 1667. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_100

The tower had almost collapsed but was rebuilt in the early 2000s and it is now in good condition. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_101

From 1714 onwards, about 52 batteries and redoubts were built around the coasts of Malta and Gozo. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_102

A few of the batteries were built around existing coastal watchtowers, such as Qawra and Aħrax Towers. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_103

Most of the batteries were destroyed over the years or are in ruins, but a few are still more or less intact, including Mistra, Vendôme, Ferretti, St. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_104 Anthony's, Qolla l-Bajda and St. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_105 Mary's Batteries. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_106

Very few redoubts survive, including Briconet, Ximenes and St. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_107 George Redoubts. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_108

Various entrenchments were also built between the 1720s and 1760s, both around the coastline and along some inland positions. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_109

The remains of a few still survive today, including the Naxxar Entrenchment and the Louvier Entrenchment. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_110

From 1749 to the 1760s, Fort Chambray was built on the island of Gozo. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_111

It was intended to be a new fortified city like Valletta, and eventually to replace the Cittadella as the island's capital. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_112

This was unsuccessful, and eventually only the fort was built. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_113

It saw some action during the French occupation of 1798, but its importance eventually diminished. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_114

It was converted into a hospital in the 19th century. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_115

In the 1990s, the interior of the fort began to be redeveloped, but the outer bastions and some barracks remain intact. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_116

Between 1793 and 1795, Saint Lucian Tower and its battery were strengthened with a ditch and an entrenchment-like enclosure, and the complex was renamed Fort Rohan after the reigning Grand Master, Emmanuel de Rohan-Polduc. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_117

Most of the fortifications, with the exception of the tower itself, were dismantled and rebuilt by the British later on in the 19th century and the name Fort Rohan fell into disuse. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_118

Apart from the knights' fortifications, over the years various individuals or families built their own fortifications. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_119

These were mainly fortified residences or private watchtowers. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_120

A notable surviving example is Mamo Tower, built in 1657 in Marsaskala. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_121

French occupation (1798–1800) Fortifications of Malta_section_5

The French evicted the Order from Malta during the Mediterranean campaign of 1798, and the Order surrendered after a couple of days. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_122

The Maltese, although initially welcoming the French occupiers, rebelled after a couple of months due to a number of reforms and the looting of churches. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_123

The insurgents took control of Gozo which became briefly independent, as well as Mdina and the towns and villages of the main island, leaving the French blockaded in the well-defended harbour area. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_124

The Maltese insurgents, helped by the British, hastily built various fortifications mainly intended to repel a possible French counter-attack, and at the same time also bombard French positions in the harbour area. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_125

The insurgents had various camps, and men in these camps were responsible for a number of batteries, redoubts and entrenchments in the vicinity. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_126

The most important batteries were the Corradino Batteries, Għargħar Battery, Tal-Borg Battery and Tas-Samra Battery. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_127

The fortifications surrounded the entire harbour area, stretching all the way from Sliema to Kalkara. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_128

The design of the batteries was based on the coastal batteries and entrenchments built by the Order in the 18th century, while most of the entrenchments consisted of long stretches of rubble walls. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_129

They were armed by guns taken from coastal fortifications such as Saint Mary's Tower. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_130

The usefulness of the fortifications was tested in 1799 when a French counter-attack from Fort Manoel was repelled by the insurgent batteries. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_131

None of these fortifications survive intact, although some pre-existing buildings that were used as blockhouses may still be seen. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_132

San Rocco Battery, one of the insurgents' fortifications, was the location where Fort Saint Rocco was built later on in the late 19th century. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_133

British fortifications (1800–1979) Fortifications of Malta_section_6

Nineteenth and early twentieth centuries Fortifications of Malta_section_7

The British took over the Maltese islands as a protectorate in 1800, and later as a colony in 1813. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_134

They initially used the Hospitaller fortifications without any alterations. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_135

Under the military theory of the time, the Royal Navy's Mediterranean Fleet was regarded as the most reliable protection against invasion, and in fact the British Civil Commissioner, Henry Pigot, wanted to demolish the majority of Valletta's fortifications in 1801, although this was never done. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_136

During the British period, the various forts of the Order were rearmed, refitted and altered a number of times to keep up with the latest military technology. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_137

In the 1850s, the British built Fort Verdala and St. Clement's Retrenchment in the Cottonera area, while Lascaris Battery was built in Valletta. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_138

Later on in the 19th century, parts of the Cottonera Lines, Santa Margherita Lines and the fortifications of Senglea were demolished to make way for extensions of the Malta Dockyard. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_139

Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the British built barracks in various parts of the island, such as Tigné Point and Pembroke. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_140

In 1866, Colonel William Jervois produced a report entitled "Memorandum with reference to the improvements to the defences of Malta and Gibraltar, rendered necessary by the introduction of Iron Plated Ships and powerful rifled guns", in which he gave Malta (along with Gibraltar, Halifax and Bermuda) the status of an "imperial fortress". Fortifications of Malta_sentence_141

A programme to improve Malta's fortifications began soon after, and a number of new polygonal forts and batteries were built, including Sliema Point Battery (1872), Fort St. Rocco (1872–73) and Fort Leonardo (1875–78). Fortifications of Malta_sentence_142

From 1871 to 1880, the Corradino Lines were built on the Corradino Heights. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_143

The V-shaped trace and ditch were meant to protect the dockyard and harbour from landward attacks. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_144

They were abandoned in the early 1900s due to advancements in technology, although they saw some use once again in World War II. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_145

Starting from 1875, the Victoria Lines, originally known as the North West Front, were built along the northern part of Malta, dividing it from the more heavily populated south. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_146

The system of defences consisted of a line of fortifications flanked by defensive towers, along with entrenchments and gun emplacements. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_147

Several artillery batteries were planned, but only San Giovanni Battery and Tarġa Battery were actually built. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_148

Three forts were also built along the lines: Fort Binġemma, Fort Madalena and Fort Mosta. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_149

The lines were completed in 1899, but exercises in 1900 proved that they were of dubious defensive value, and the entire system was decommissioned in 1907, with the exception of the coastal towers. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_150

Today, parts of the lines have collapsed but other parts in the countryside, including the three forts, still survive. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_151

Another fort, Fort Pembroke, was built between 1875 and 1878 to cover the gap between the Victoria Lines and the harbour area. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_152

The British also built a number of forts to protect Marsaxlokk Harbour. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_153

These included Fort San Lucian (1874–78), Fort Delimara (1876–88), Fort Tas-Silġ (1879–83). Fortifications of Malta_sentence_154

In 1881 and 1882, Saint Paul's Battery and Żonqor Battery were built in Marsaxlokk and Marsaskala respectively. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_155

Following the arming of the Italian ironclads Duilio and Dandolo with 100-ton guns, the British feared an Italian attack on Malta, as the ships could fire on Malta's batteries, destroying them one after the other, while keeping outside their guns' range. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_156

To prevent this, the British requested that four 100-ton guns be built. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_157

Two of these were installed in Malta, and Cambridge Battery and Rinella Battery were built specifically to house these guns. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_158

Construction of the batteries began in 1878 and they were complete by 1886. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_159

The gun at Rinella still exists. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_160

From 1888 to 1910, a new series of fortifications were built to house breech-loading guns. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_161

These were Della Grazie Battery, Spinola Battery, Garden Battery, Wolseley Battery, Pembroke Battery and Fort Benghisa. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_162

The latter was the last polygonal fort to be built in Malta. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_163

World Wars and aftermath Fortifications of Malta_section_8

After the early 20th century, few fortifications were built in Malta. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_164

However, new military installations such as airfields began to be built in World War I, when the seaplane base of RAF Kalafrana and the airfield at Marsa were built. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_165

More airfields were built in the interwar period and the Second World War, including RAF Hal Far, RAF Ta Kali, RAF Luqa, RAF Safi, RAF Krendi and Ta' Lambert Airfield. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_166

From the Abyssinian Crisis of 1935 onwards, the British built many pillboxes in Malta for defence in case of an Italian invasion. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_167

Many others were built during World War II. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_168

Many pillboxes still exist, especially on the north eastern part of the island. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_169

A few of them have been restored and are cared for, but many others were demolished. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_170

Some pillboxes are still being destroyed as they are not considered to have any architectural or historic value. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_171

The last fort to be built in Malta was Fort Campbell, which was built near Mellieħa between late 1937 and 1938. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_172

The design of the fort is completely different from the earlier fortifications in Malta as it was designed to counter the new threat of aerial bombardment. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_173

It had an irregular plan and its perimeter was guarded by machine gun posts and a few rifle loopholes. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_174

The buildings inside were scattered so as not to create a concentration of buildings. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_175

The fort still exists, although it is largely in ruins. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_176

During the Second World War, the Lascaris War Rooms were built in Valletta to serve as the war headquarters for the defence of Malta. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_177

They were later used in the headquarters of the Allied invasion of Sicily. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_178

Throughout the war, many air-raid shelters also were dug in the limestone rock of the islands, either by the government or by individuals or families, to protect the civilian population of Malta from Italian or German aerial bombardment. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_179

Many of the shelters still exist, and a few are open to the public. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_180

Many anti-aircraft batteries, gun positions and radar stations were also built throughout the course of the war. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_181

Many of the fortifications were decommissioned between the 1950s and 1970s. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_182

Some were left abandoned while others were used for a variety of purposes, such as private residences, restaurants, police stations or farms. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_183

Some barracks, such as those at Mtarfa and Pembroke, were converted to housing estates. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_184

Several forts and historic military buildings are still in use by the Armed Forces of Malta, such as Luqa Barracks, Fort Madalena and Fort Mosta. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_185

Present day Fortifications of Malta_section_9

Conservation and restoration Fortifications of Malta_section_10

Today, the architectural and historical value of Malta's fortifications is widely acknowledged, and many also serve as tourist attractions. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_186

All fortifications were included on the Antiquities List of 1925, and virtually all surviving Hospitaller fortifications are now listed on the National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands, Malta's national heritage register. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_187

The fortified city of Valletta has been listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1980. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_188

The other fortifications around Malta's harbour area, the fortified cities of Mdina and the Cittadella, as well as the Victoria Lines have been on the tentative list of World Heritage Sites since 1998. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_189

From the 1970s onwards, some of the fortifications, especially those which were abandoned, became dilapidated and often vandalized. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_190

However, since the beginning of the 21st century, a number of fortifications have been restored or are undergoing restoration. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_191

The National Trust of Malta, Din l-Art Ħelwa, was responsible for the restoration of a number of Hospitaller coastal fortifications from the 1970s onwards. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_192

Towers and batteries restored by Din l-Art Ħelwa include Wignacourt Tower (1975–76 and 2003), Mamo Tower (1994–95), Għallis Tower (1995), St. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_193 Mary's Battery (1996–97 and 2003–04), Dwejra Tower (1997), St. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_194 Mark's Tower (1997–98), St. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_195 Agatha's Tower (1999–2001), St. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_196 Mary's Tower (2002 and 2005) and Sopu Tower (2004). Fortifications of Malta_sentence_197

Din l-Art Ħelwa is currently restoring St. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_198 Anthony's Battery and Xlendi Tower. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_199

Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna also restored a number of Maltese fortifications, including the Saluting Battery and Rinella Battery. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_200

It is currently restoring Mistra Battery. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_201

From 2001 onwards, MIDI plc began restoration of Fort Manoel as part of its Manoel Island project. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_202

The restoration included rebuilding the Chapel of St Anthony of Padua, which had been bombed in World War II. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_203

In 2008, MIDI also restored Fort Tigné as part of its development of Tigné Point. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_204

The 19th century Garden Battery, which was believed to have been destroyed in the World War II, was rediscovered during the Tigné Point project, and MIDI decided to restore it as well. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_205

The first plans to restore the fortifications of Valletta, Birgu, Mdina and the Cittadella were made in 2006. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_206

In 2008, restoration began in Mdina, Birgu and the Cittadella. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_207

In Mdina, some of the bastions had started to slip down the clay slopes, and steel rods were inserted in the walls to reinforce them. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_208

Throughout the course of restoration, a number of archaeological remains have been found, including remains of Mdina's Punic-Roman and medieval walls, a bastion and a caponier in Birgu, the Cittadella's original entrance, and a number of other features. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_209

In Valletta, restoration started in 2010, with the project being described as "the biggest in a century". Fortifications of Malta_sentence_210

Squatters were evicted from public lands around the fortifications. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_211

Restoration of the upper part of Fort Saint Elmo was completed in 2015. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_212

The Chapel of St Roche on St Michael's Counterguard, which was bombed in World War II, was rebuilt in 2014 as part of the restoration. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_213

Parts of the fortifications of Senglea began to be restored in 2015. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_214

Fortifications Interpretation Centre Fortifications of Malta_section_11

The Fortifications Interpretation Centre (FIC) is a public institution dedicated to communicating and exhibiting Malta's military architecture. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_215

It is located in a building adjoining Saint Andrew's Bastion, part of the city walls of Valletta. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_216

The building was originally a bombproof magazine and artillery school that was built sometime during the reign of Hugues Loubenx de Verdalle in the late 16th century. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_217

The uppermost floor had been destroyed in World War II and the rest of the building was subsequently used as an examination hall. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_218

The building was restored and the upper floor rebuilt in a project co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund, and the FIC was opened on 16 February 2013. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_219

The FIC includes information guides on the fortifications of Malta, going back to the first fortifications at Borġ in-Nadur and focusing especially on those built by the Order and the British. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_220

It contains models of Maltese forts, as well as informative panels describing fortifications around the world, thus putting Malta's fortifications in context. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_221

Heraldry Fortifications of Malta_section_12

Malta's fortifications are featured a number of times on the islands' heraldry. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_222

The coat of arms of Malta contains a mural crown in gold with a sally port and eight turrets (five of which are visible), which represents the fortifications as well as Malta's status as a city-state. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_223

The coats of arms of the five regions of Malta have a similar crown but with five turrets, all of which are visible. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_224

A mural crown with four visible turrets can be seen on the coats of arms of Valletta, Mdina and Birgu, indicating their status as capital city or former capitals. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_225

Another version with four turrets (three visible) can be seen on the coats of arms of Cospicua, Senglea, Qormi, Siġġiewi, Żabbar, Żebbuġ, Żejtun and Victoria, indicating the status of a city. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_226

The coat of arms of Xgħajra features a heraldic representation of Santa Maria delle Grazie Tower, a now-demolished Wignacourt tower. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_227

In addition, De Redin towers are featured on the coats of arms of the Armed Forces of Malta (as well as its Air Wing), the Malta Stock Exchange, and the town of Pembroke. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_228

The coat of arms of Mtarfa feature a representation of Mtarfa Barracks, reflecting the role of the British military in the founding of the town. Fortifications of Malta_sentence_229

See also Fortifications of Malta_section_13

Fortifications of Malta_unordered_list_0

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