Saint Thomas Tower

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This article is about the tower in Malta. Saint Thomas Tower_sentence_0

There is another tower of the same name in the Tower of London. Saint Thomas Tower_sentence_1

Saint Thomas Tower_table_infobox_0

Saint Thomas Tower & BatterySaint Thomas Tower_header_cell_0_0_0
CoordinatesSaint Thomas Tower_header_cell_0_1_0 Saint Thomas Tower_cell_0_1_1
TypeSaint Thomas Tower_header_cell_0_2_0 Bastioned coastal watchtower

Artillery batterySaint Thomas Tower_cell_0_2_1

Site informationSaint Thomas Tower_header_cell_0_3_0
OwnerSaint Thomas Tower_header_cell_0_4_0 Government of MaltaSaint Thomas Tower_cell_0_4_1
Controlled bySaint Thomas Tower_header_cell_0_5_0 Fondazzjoni Wirt ArtnaSaint Thomas Tower_cell_0_5_1
ConditionSaint Thomas Tower_header_cell_0_6_0 IntactSaint Thomas Tower_cell_0_6_1
Site historySaint Thomas Tower_header_cell_0_7_0
BuiltSaint Thomas Tower_header_cell_0_8_0 1614 (tower)

1715 (battery)Saint Thomas Tower_cell_0_8_1

Built bySaint Thomas Tower_header_cell_0_9_0 Order of Saint JohnSaint Thomas Tower_cell_0_9_1
In useSaint Thomas Tower_header_cell_0_10_0 1614–19th centurySaint Thomas Tower_cell_0_10_1
MaterialsSaint Thomas Tower_header_cell_0_11_0 LimestoneSaint Thomas Tower_cell_0_11_1
Battles/warsSaint Thomas Tower_header_cell_0_12_0 Siege of Malta (1798–1800)Saint Thomas Tower_cell_0_12_1

Saint Thomas Tower (Maltese: Torri ta' San Tumas), also known as Fort Saint Thomas (Maltese: Forti San Tumas), is a large bastioned watchtower in Marsaskala, Malta. Saint Thomas Tower_sentence_2

It was built in 1614, the third of six Wignacourt towers. Saint Thomas Tower_sentence_3

An artillery battery was added to the tower in the early 18th century. Saint Thomas Tower_sentence_4

Saint Thomas Tower is the largest watchtower in Malta. Saint Thomas Tower_sentence_5

History Saint Thomas Tower_section_0

Saint Thomas Tower was built above the shore on the seaward face of the headland of il-Ħamrija in Marsaskala. Saint Thomas Tower_sentence_6

It is a substantial fortification intended to prevent the landing of troops in the sheltered anchorages of Marsaskala Creek and St Thomas' Bay. Saint Thomas Tower_sentence_7

Construction of the tower was approved in July 1614, at the time of the raid of Żejtun, in which an Ottoman fleet managed to land at St Thomas' Bay. Saint Thomas Tower_sentence_8

The tower was named after a chapel dedicated to St Thomas which stood close to where the tower now lies. Saint Thomas Tower_sentence_9

It cost 13,450 scudi, 6 tari and 4 grani to build, making it the second most expensive Wignacourt tower, after Saint Mary's Tower. Saint Thomas Tower_sentence_10

The tower's architect is unknown. Saint Thomas Tower_sentence_11

There are claims that it was designed by Vittorio Cassar, but these are disputed since Cassar was probably dead when work on the tower began. Saint Thomas Tower_sentence_12

The tower has very thick walls and has four pentagonal bastioned turrets projecting outwards on each corner. Saint Thomas Tower_sentence_13

The tower's entrance was through a vaulted doorway with a wooden drawbridge. Saint Thomas Tower_sentence_14

The drawbridge is still partially intact and it is the only original one to have survived in Malta. Saint Thomas Tower_sentence_15

The tower is surrounded by a rock-hewn ditch. Saint Thomas Tower_sentence_16

After the De Redin towers were built, St Thomas had Żonqor and Xrobb l-Għaġin Towers in its line of sight, but these are now either in ruins or completely demolished. Saint Thomas Tower_sentence_17

In 1715, St Thomas Tower was reinforced by the addition of a battery on the seaward face. Saint Thomas Tower_sentence_18

Construction of the battery cost a total of 382 scudi, 8 tarì, 11 grani and 1 piccolo, which was less than the cost of construction of other batteries around the coast. Saint Thomas Tower_sentence_19

During the French blockade of 1798–1800, the tower was stormed and captured by Maltese insurgents. Saint Thomas Tower_sentence_20

The tower remained in use by the British until the 19th century. Saint Thomas Tower_sentence_21

The British did not make any major alterations to the tower (like they did in Saint Lucian Tower), and only some minor changes to the structure were made. Saint Thomas Tower_sentence_22

At some point, the tower was also used as a prison. Saint Thomas Tower_sentence_23

Present day Saint Thomas Tower_section_1

Today, the town of Marsaskala has expanded, surrounding the tower with modern buildings. Saint Thomas Tower_sentence_24

In 1982, the four-star Corinthia Jerma Palace Hotel was built between the tower and the coast, effectively ruining the tower's relation with the sea. Saint Thomas Tower_sentence_25

The hotel closed in 2007, and it is now in a dilapidated state. Saint Thomas Tower_sentence_26

Meanwhile, the tower itself now forms the centerpiece of a plaza around its shoreward face. Saint Thomas Tower_sentence_27

For some time, it was used as a restaurant and pizzeria. Saint Thomas Tower_sentence_28

In 2008, it was handed over to Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna, a heritage foundation. Saint Thomas Tower_sentence_29

A couple of weeks after it was handed over, the tower was cleaned of debris, and some modern structures which had been added when it was a restaurant were removed. Saint Thomas Tower_sentence_30

Further restoration work was undertaken by the Restoration Unit. Saint Thomas Tower_sentence_31

Plans were made to open the tower as a museum about piracy in the Mediterranean, but it has not opened yet. Saint Thomas Tower_sentence_32

The battery's gun platform was also restored, and its parapet and embrasures were rebuilt to a design on modern interpretative lines. Saint Thomas Tower_sentence_33

In 2014, the Marsaskala Local Council organized exhibitions, re-enactments and other events in the tower to commemorate its 400th anniversary. Saint Thomas Tower_sentence_34

In popular culture Saint Thomas Tower_section_2

Saint Thomas Tower_unordered_list_0

  • The tower is featured in the fiction book Il-Misteru tat-Torri San Tumas (The Mystery of Saint Thomas Tower) by Charles Zarb published in 2004.Saint Thomas Tower_item_0_0

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