Tag Archives: Defence

St. Mary’s Tower | Comino | 1 October 2014

The Santa Marija Tower on Comino formed part of the early system of towers which the Order set up to facilitate defence and communication between the Ċittadella in Gozo and Mdina. It later became a key location of the system of towers built along the coast. The decision to build this Tower was taken by Grand Master Alof de Wignacourt in 1618, and was financed by the Grand Master himself, by the sale of the brushwood on the island and from the profits made by the resettled farmers. The site chosen was some eighty metres above sea level.

The design of the Tower was square in plan with four corner turrets. The bulk of the Tower is twelve metres high and stands on a plinth some eight metres high. A three metre wide strip was laid along the top surface of the plinth to enable the defenders to move easily to any endangered point. The walls of the Tower are about six metres thick and the four corner turrets are extended perpendicularly and crowned with a battlement top.

Information from:
Web: http://www.visitmalta.com/en/info/santamariatowercomino

© Tony Blood - St. Mary's Tower, Comino, 1 October 2014

© Tony Blood – St. Mary’s Tower, Comino, 1 October 2014

St. Mark’s Tower | Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq, Malta | 1 October 2014

The De Redin Towers are a series of small fortified watch towers that Grandmaster Martin de Redin of the Order of Saint John built on the Maltese islands between the years 1658 and 1659. There are 13 on Malta and 1 on Gozo. The towers are in sight of each other, and provided a communication link between Gozo and Grand Harbour, in addition to functioning as watchtowers against attack by Corsairs. They were also designed to withstand an attack if the need arose.

The design is based on the design of the last of the five original Lascaris towers, the Sciuta Tower at Wied iż-Żurrieq, that Grand Master Giovanni Paolo Lascaris, de Redin’s predecessor, had built in 1640. The locals refer to both the five Lascaris towers and the thirteen de Redin towers as “de Redin towers”.

Nine of the fourteen towers still exist today and most are in good condition and accessible to the public. Two towers were destroyed but the remains still survive, while another three were completely demolished and no remains survive.

De Redin towers are featured on the coats of arms of the Armed Forces of Malta, the Malta Stock Exchange and the local council of Pembroke.

Information from:
Web: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Redin_towers

This is one of Grand Master de Redin’s watch towers and is situated a few hundred metres from the Għallis Tower. Also known as St Mark’s Tower, this is probably the third of the thirteen towers built by Grand Master de Redin. The stone work cost 408 scudi and was paid for by the Grand Master. Its construction and history is similar to that for Ghallis Tower and it was built between March 1658 and July of the following year together with the other twelve towers. During the British period a small room was built in front of the Tower to serve as a guard room but only its foundations remain. On the first floor there is an inlet to an underground well.

Information from:
Web: http://www.visitmalta.com/en/info/qaletmarkutower

© Tony Blood - St. Mark's Tower. Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq, Malta, 1 October 2014

© Tony Blood – St. Mark’s Tower. Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq, Malta, 1 October 2014

Fort Campbell | Selmun, Mellieħa, Malta | 30 September 2014

Fort Campbell was built in 1937 and was armed with two guns to defend the coastal waters of Mellieha and St. Paul’s Bay against invasion. Another anti aircraft gun was added later. One can still see the gun emplacements, the soldier’s quarters, the underground magazine and the Fire Control Command. Several pillboxes and machine gun openings were constructed all around the fort. The fort was garrisoned by 200 RMA soldiers. It’s generator fed the Search Lights facing St. Paul’s islands. This fort was abandoned around 1970.

Information from:
Rural Development Programme for Malta 2007-2013
The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development
Europe Investing in Rural Areas

© Tony Blood - Fort Campbell. Selmun, Mellieħa, Malta, 30 September 2014

© Tony Blood – Fort Campbell. Selmun, Mellieħa, Malta, 30 September 2014

© Tony Blood - Fort Campbell. Selmun, Mellieħa, Malta, 30 September 2014

© Tony Blood – Fort Campbell. Selmun, Mellieħa, Malta, 30 September 2014

© Tony Blood - Fort Campbell. Selmun, Mellieħa, Malta, 30 September 2014

© Tony Blood – Fort Campbell. Selmun, Mellieħa, Malta, 30 September 2014

© Tony Blood - Fort Campbell. Selmun, Mellieħa, Malta, 30 September 2014

© Tony Blood – Fort Campbell. Selmun, Mellieħa, Malta, 30 September 2014

© Tony Blood - Fort Campbell. Selmun, Mellieħa, Malta, 30 September 2014

© Tony Blood – Fort Campbell. Selmun, Mellieħa, Malta, 30 September 2014

© Tony Blood - Fort Campbell. Selmun, Mellieħa, Malta, 30 September 2014

© Tony Blood – Fort Campbell. Selmun, Mellieħa, Malta, 30 September 2014

© Tony Blood - Fort Campbell. Selmun, Mellieħa, Malta, 30 September 2014

© Tony Blood – Fort Campbell. Selmun, Mellieħa, Malta, 30 September 2014

© Tony Blood - Fort Campbell. Selmun, Mellieħa, Malta, 30 September 2014

© Tony Blood – Fort Campbell. Selmun, Mellieħa, Malta, 30 September 2014

© Tony Blood - Fire Station, Fort Campbell. Selmun, Mellieħa, Malta, 30 September 2014

© Tony Blood – Fire Station, Fort Campbell. Selmun, Mellieħa, Malta, 30 September 2014

© Tony Blood - Fire Station, Fort Campbell. Selmun, Mellieħa, Malta, 30 September 2014

© Tony Blood – Fire Station, Fort Campbell. Selmun, Mellieħa, Malta, 30 September 2014

Lippija Tower | Mġarr, Malta | 29 September 2014

Lippija Tower, completed in 1637, was the first Lascaris tower to be built. It was built overlooking Ġnejna Bay, and Lascaris himself personally completely financed its construction. It is two storeys high with a flat roof and a parapet. By the early 2000s it was abandoned in a state of disrepair and it was in danger of collapsing. In 2003 the Ministry of Resources and Infrastructure restored it and it is now in good condition.

Information from:
Web: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lascaris_towers#cite_note-1
Web: http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20030721/local/lippija-tower-restoration-taken-in-hand.145180

© Tony Blood - Lippija Tower. Mġarr, Malta, 29 September 2014

© Tony Blood – Lippija Tower. Mġarr, Malta, 29 September 2014

Body Armour | The Palace Armoury | Valletta, Malta | 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood - The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood – The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood - The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood – The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood - The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood – The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood - The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood – The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood - The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood – The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood - The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood – The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

The Palace Armoury | Valletta, Malta | 18 September 2014

The Palace Armoury is one of the world’s largest collections of arms and armour that is still housed in its original building. The Knights of St John were a unique brotherhood of resolute warrior monks. From Malta, their island stronghold, these combatant aristocrats from the noblest houses of Europe, carried out their relentless crusade against the Ottoman Turks in defence of the Catholic faith. The Palace Armoury is certainly one of the most visible and tangible symbols of the past glories of the Sovereign Hospitaller Military Order of Malta.

Grand Master Alof de Wignacourt transferred the Order’s arsenal to the Magisterial Palace in 1604 where it was the pride of the Order. Apart from being lavishly adorned with elaborate trophies of arms, it held enough arms and armour to equip thousands of soldiers. It was housed in the magnificent hall at the rear of the building, right above its present location. At present, it is displayed inside two halls that were originally the stables of the palace.

Following the forced departure of the Order of St. John from Malta, the armoury somehow lost much of its original grandeur. However, it was restored and was officially opened as Malta’s first public museum in 1860. Although only a fraction of its original splendour remains, the Armoury still contains abundant material of Italian, German, French and Spanish origin from principal production centres. Also displayed is an exotic selection of Islamic and Ottoman arms and armour. Apart from the massed arms of the common soldiers in the collection, the enriched personal armours of the nobility still manage to make a statement.

Information from:
Web: http://heritagemalta.org/museums-sites/the-palace-armoury/

© Tony Blood - The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood – The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

Helmets | The Palace Armoury | Valletta, Malta | 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood - The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood – The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood - The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood – The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood - The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood – The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood - The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood – The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood - The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood – The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood - The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood – The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

Għajn Tuffieħa Tower | Mellieħa, Malta | 3 September 2014

The Lascaris towers are a series of mostly coastal watchtowers that the Order of Saint John (Knights of Malta) built as military fortifications on the island of Malta.

Giovanni Paolo Lascaris became Grand Master of the Order of Saint John in 1636. He commissioned the building of five towers for the Maltese coast. The military architect Vincenzo Maculani, who had been sent to Malta by Pope Innocent X, was responsible for their design and construction, which took place between 1637 and 1640.

Modern day locals often refer to both the five Lascaris towers and the thirteen later de Redin towers collectively as “de Redin towers”. The Wignacourt towerspreceded the Lascaris towers.

Għajn Tuffieħa Tower, also known as Għajn Mixkuka Tower, was built on the cliffs overlooking Għajn Tuffieħa Bay close to Mellieħa and Mġarr on the north west coast of Malta. The tower was built on the site of a medieval watch post. It was originally armed with a half pounder gun and garrisoned by four men. The men were paid by the Universita of Mdina.

The tower was restored in 2000 with the support of the Director of Public Projects and the philanthropic organisation Din l-Art Ħelwa. In 2012, the tower was vandalized when graffiti was sprayed on it but this was removed. The tower continued to be renovated until the Gaia Foundation opened it to the public in 2013 as part of a peace grove containing over 20 species of indigenous plants.

Information from:
Web: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lascaris_towers#G.C4.A7ajn_Tuffie.C4.A7a_Tower

© Tony Blood - Għajn Tuffieħa Tower, Għajn Tuffieħa Bay. Mellieħa, Malta, 4 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Għajn Tuffieħa Tower, Għajn Tuffieħa Bay. Mellieħa, Malta, 4 August 2014

St. Thomas Tower | Il-Hamriga, Marsaskala, Malta | 22 August 2014

Saint Thomas Tower was built above the shore on the seaward face of the headland of Il-Hamriga in Marsaskala. It is a substantial fortification intended to prevent the landing of troops in the sheltered anchorages of Marsaskala Creek and St Thomas Bay. The tower was built in 1614 and was named after a chapel dedicated to St Thomas which stood close to where the tower now lies. Its architect is not known and it cost 13,450 scudi to build making it the second most expensive Wignacourt tower.

The tower has very thick walls and has four pentagonal turrets projecting outwards on each corner. The tower’s entrance was through a vaulted doorway with a wooden drawbridge. The drawbridge is still partially intact and it is the only original one to have survived in Malta.

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. In 1716, St Thomas Tower was reinforced by the addition of a battery on the seaward face. 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. The tower continued to be used by the British until well into the 19th century, but unlike St Lucian Tower the battery around the fort was not dismantled and rebuilt and only minor alterations to the tower itself were made.

The tower and battery have undergone recent restoration work. The village of Marsaskala has expanded to surround the tower with modern buildings, and the tower now forms the centerpiece of a plaza around its shoreward face. The tower was used as a restaurant and pizzeria. In 2008 the tower was cleaned and the ditch was cleared of vegetation so it is now in very good condition. It was to be converted into a museum about piracy in the Mediterranean.

Information from:
Web: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wignacourt_towers

© Tony Blood - St. Thomas Tower. Il-Hamriga, Marsaskala, Malta, 22 August 2014

© Tony Blood – St. Thomas Tower. Il-Hamriga, Marsaskala, Malta, 22 August 2014

Gardjola Gardens | Senglea, Malta | 30 July 2014

Constructed on a grid pattern in 1551 by order of Grandmaster De La Sengle, the Gardjola Gardens in Senglea offer a panoramic view that includes the docks in Marsa, Valletta, the entrance to the Grand Harbour and Fort St. Angelo.

The sentry box placed on the tip of the bastion, ‘il-gardjola’, epitomises the role of the fortifications around the harbour. On the sentry box there are sculptured various symbols of watchfulness, namely the eye, the ear, and the crane bird. The inscription in Latin assures the inhabitants of the harbour area to rest at ease, as the tower stands guard against any hostile force that may attempt to approach Maltese shores.

Information from:
Web: http://www.visitmalta.com/en/info/gardjolagardens

© Tony Blood - Watchtower. Gardjola Gardens. Senglea, Malta, 30 July 2014

© Tony Blood – Watchtower. Gardjola Gardens. Senglea, Malta, 30 July 2014

© Tony Blood - Water Feature. Gardjola Gardens. Senglea, Malta, 30 July 2014

© Tony Blood – Water Feature. Gardjola Gardens. Senglea, Malta, 30 July 2014

© Tony Blood - Watchtower. Gardjola Gardens. Senglea, Malta, 30 July 2014

© Tony Blood – Watchtower. Gardjola Gardens. Senglea, Malta, 30 July 2014

© Tony Blood - Water Feature. Gardjola Gardens. Senglea, Malta, 30 July 2014

© Tony Blood – Water Feature. Gardjola Gardens. Senglea, Malta, 30 July 2014

© Tony Blood - View of Valletta. Gardjola Gardens. Senglea, Malta, 30 July 2014

© Tony Blood – View of Valletta. Gardjola Gardens. Senglea, Malta, 30 July 2014

© Tony Blood - Eye. Gardjola Gardens. Senglea, Malta, 30 July 2014

© Tony Blood – Eye. Gardjola Gardens. Senglea, Malta, 30 July 2014

© Tony Blood - Ear. Gardjola Gardens. Senglea, Malta, 30 July 2014

© Tony Blood – Ear. Gardjola Gardens. Senglea, Malta, 30 July 2014

© Tony Blood - Gardjola Gardens. Senglea, Malta, 30 July 2014

© Tony Blood – Gardjola Gardens. Senglea, Malta, 30 July 2014

Fort St. Elmo | Valletta, Malta | 19 July 2014

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.

When the Knights arrived in Malta, Mount Sceberras, on which Valletta was later to stand, was a rocky promontory with a small fort built in 1488 during Aragonese rule of the Islands. The Knights set about reinforcing the fort’s defences to the extent that this once small fort managed to repel a month of attack from the Ottomans at the outset of the Great Siege. It was eventually captured with the loss of 1500 Knights and local defenders. But testimony to the Fort’s strength is the fact that the attackers lost four times that number of men in taking the St Elmo. When the siege was over, the victorious Knights rebuilt Fort St Elmo and strengthened further its defences.

The Fort has seen continuous use over the centuries, right through to World War II and the present day. In 1940, at the start of the War, Italian airmen led the first aerial attack on Malta with Fort St Elmo as the main target. Today, part of Fort St Elmo houses the War Museum with the rest of the Fort serving as the Maltese Police Academy.

The Fort is the scene today of the `In Guardia’ and ‘Alarme’ historical re-enactments – full-scale military parades in period costume held throughout the year except during peak summer months.

Information from:
Web: http://www.visitmalta.com/en/info/fortstelmo

© Tony Blood - Fort St. Elmo. Valletta Malta, 19 July 2014

© Tony Blood – Fort St. Elmo. Valletta Malta, 19 July 2014