Tag Archives: Knights of Malta

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

Selmun Palace | Mellieħa, Malta | 30 September 2014

This palace was built by the Knights in 1783 on a plan by architect Dominic Cachia. Although bearing fine military architecture, it only served as a summer residence and a meeting place for hunting. It resembles Verdala Palace. Inside, one finds to large holes on top of each other and for side rooms. Between 1792 and 1979 it housed a Chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Ransom and was often used by prominent people. The Monte della Redenzione coat of arms over the main entrance shows three loaves and the letter R. Holes visible on the Palace’s facade resulted from an aerial attack during World War II.

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

© Tony Blood - Selmun Palace, Mellieħa, Malta, 30 September 2014

© Tony Blood – Selmun Palace, 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

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

St. John’s Co-Cathedral | Valletta, Malta | 16 September 2014

St John’s Co-Cathedral is a gem of Baroque art and architecture. It was built as the conventual church for the Knights of St. John. The Grand Masters and several knights donated gifts of high artistic value and made enormous contributions to enrich it with only the best works of art. This church is till this very day an important shrine and a sacred place of worship. It is also a venue for cultural events.

Information from:
Web: http://stjohnscocathedral.com

Described as the first complete example of the high Baroque anywhere, St. John’s Cathedral epitomises the role of its original patrons, the Knights of St. John. The Cathedral is testimony to the talent of Maltese military architect Gerolamo Cassar, with Mattia Preti’s intricately carved stone wall designs, as well as the painted vaulted ceiling and side altars with scenes from the life of St. John. The Cathedral also houses one of Europe’s most impressive and famous art works – Caravaggio’s Beheading of St. John the Baptist. The Cathedral was a shrine to the Knights, as many sons of Europe’s noble families from the 16th to 18th centuries lie buried here. Their intricate, marble-inlaid tombstones form a magnificently crafted pavimento. Also a resting place to the founder of Valletta, Grand Master Jean Parisot de la Vallette, his tomb lies in the crypt, a quiet sanctuary and place of contemplation away from the busy streets outside.

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

© Tony Blood - Caravaggio's St. Jerome Writing, St. John's Co-Cathedral. Valletta Malta, 16 July 2014

© Tony Blood – Caravaggio’s St. Jerome Writing, St. John’s Co-Cathedral. Valletta Malta, 16 July 2014

© Tony Blood - St. John's Co-Cathedral. Valletta Malta, 16 July 2014

© Tony Blood – St. John’s Co-Cathedral. Valletta Malta, 16 July 2014

© Tony Blood - St. John's Co-Cathedral. Valletta Malta, 16 July 2014

© Tony Blood – St. John’s Co-Cathedral. Valletta Malta, 16 July 2014

© Tony Blood - St. John's Co-Cathedral. Valletta Malta, 16 July 2014

© Tony Blood – St. John’s Co-Cathedral. Valletta Malta, 16 July 2014

© Tony Blood - St. John's Co-Cathedral. Valletta Malta, 16 July 2014

© Tony Blood – St. John’s Co-Cathedral. Valletta Malta, 16 July 2014

© Tony Blood - St. John's Co-Cathedral. Valletta Malta, 16 July 2014

© Tony Blood – St. John’s Co-Cathedral. Valletta Malta, 16 July 2014

© Tony Blood - St. John's Co-Cathedral. Valletta Malta, 16 July 2014

© Tony Blood – St. John’s Co-Cathedral. Valletta Malta, 16 July 2014

© Tony Blood - St. John's Co-Cathedral. Valletta Malta, 16 July 2014

© Tony Blood – St. John’s Co-Cathedral. Valletta Malta, 16 July 2014

© Tony Blood - St. John's Co-Cathedral. Valletta Malta, 16 July 2014

© Tony Blood – St. John’s Co-Cathedral. Valletta Malta, 16 July 2014

Parish Church of Mellieħa | Mellieħa, Malta | 1 September 2014

The Parish Church of Mellieha is dedicated to the Birth of Our Lady, and was built between 1881 and 1898. All the stone was cut from a nearby quarry at l-Ahrax tal-Mellieha and transported up to Mellieha by the local peasants, who worked laboriously to see their wish of having a new church come true. Once the church’s building was completed, the Parish Priests Dun Frangisk Magri, Dun Carlo Cortis and Dun Indri Fenech endeavoured to embellish the interior. 

Thus between 1920 and 1940 the belfries and dome were erected, five bellsdedicated to St. Frances, St. Joseph, St. Anthony, St. Paul and the Virgin Marywere brought from Milan, and the church altars were decorated with paintings by the best Maltese artists, including the renowned Giuseppe Calì and Lazzru Pisani.

Information from:
Web: http://www.mellieha.com/parish_church.htm

© Tony Blood - Parish Church of Mellieħa. Mellieħa, Malta, 1 September 2014

© Tony Blood – Parish Church of Mellieħa. Mellieħa, Malta, 1 September 2014

St. Agatha’s Tower | Mellieħa, Malta | 1 September 2014

Also known as the Red Tower (due to the colour it was painted and restored in), Grand Master Lascaris built St. Agatha’s Tower in 1647. At the time of its construction, it was the furthest outpost from Valletta and served as a signal post for communication with Gozo. One of the main defensive positions during the time of the Knights, it was equipped with a cannon and garrison of 30 men.

The entrance to the Tower is approached by a flight of steps separated from the door by a drawbridge. Square in plan with four corner towers rising from the base, the outer walls are about four metres thick, through which small windows were cut. In the 18th century, a low star-shaped entrenchment was added. During the British period the tower was used for defence purposes and was manned during both world wars. In recent times it was equipped as a radar station by the Armed Forces of Malta.

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

© Tony Blood - St. Agatha's Tower (The Red Tower). Mellieħa, Malta, 1 September 2014

© Tony Blood – St. Agatha’s Tower (The Red Tower). Mellieħa, Malta, 1 September 2014

© Tony Blood - St. Agatha's Tower (The Red Tower). Mellieħa, Malta, 1 September 2014

© Tony Blood – St. Agatha’s Tower (The Red Tower). Mellieħa, Malta, 1 September 2014

© Tony Blood - St. Agatha's Tower (The Red Tower). Mellieħa, Malta, 1 September 2014

© Tony Blood – St. Agatha’s Tower (The Red Tower). Mellieħa, Malta, 1 September 2014

© Tony Blood - St. Agatha's Tower (The Red Tower). Mellieħa, Malta, 1 September 2014

© Tony Blood – St. Agatha’s Tower (The Red Tower). Mellieħa, Malta, 1 September 2014

The Citadel | Victoria, Gozo | 30 August 2014

The Citadel in Gozo owes its roots to the late medieval era, but the hill has been settled since Neolithic times. After the Great Siege of 1565, the Knights set about re-fortifying it to provide refuge and defence against further attack. Until 1637, the Gozitan population was required by law to spend their nights within the Citadel for their own safety. In later, more peaceful times, this restriction was lifted and people settled below its walls, creating the prosperous town of Rabat, now known as Victoria.

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

© Tony Blood - Canon. The Citadel, Victoria, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Canon. The Citadel, Victoria, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Crests. The Citadel, Victoria, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Crests. The Citadel, Victoria, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Steps. The Citadel, Victoria, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Steps. The Citadel, Victoria, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Canon. The Citadel, Victoria, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Canon. The Citadel, Victoria, Gozo, 30 August 2014

St. Paul’s Cathedral | Mdina, Rabat, Malta | 19 August 2014

The Cathedral also know as St. Paul’s Cathedral is the architectural crown of the elegant, walled city of Mdina. A late 17th century masterpiece of Maltese architect Lorenzo Gafà, it lies on the site of a much earlier Norman church that was destroyed by the violent earthquake of 1693.

According to tradition, the earlier church had been built on the site of the house of Publius, the Roman’s chief man on the Islands, who was converted to Christianity by St. Paul in A.D. 60. The Cathedral’s imposing facade greets you abruptly as you emerge from Mdina’s narrow streets. The building is topped by a magnificent dome, possibly one of Gafà’s greatest achievements. the dome has though had a chequered history: a succession of painters have tried to embellish its interior.

Today’s dome interior dates from the 1950s. In the Mdina cathedral, you find works by the Calabrian artist and Knight, Mattia Preti. The pavement of marble-inlaid tombstones carries the coats of arms and inscriptions of the bishops of Mdina and other members of the Cathedral chapter. In the choir behind the main altar is Preti’s monumental depiction of The Conversion of St. Paul. It was part of the original Norman church, and survived the earthquake.

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

© Tony Blood - St. Paul's Cathedral. Mdina, Rabat, Malta, 19 August 2014

© Tony Blood – St. Paul’s Cathedral. Mdina, Rabat, Malta, 19 August 2014

Għajn Tuffieħa Bay | Mellieħa, Malta | 4 August 2014

Għajn Tuffieħa Bay is a red beach a short distance south of Golden Bay. It is quieter than Golden Bay and often visited by the Maltese themselves, as well as tourist visitors. In order to reach this beach one needs to descend a hill on a staircase of 200 steps. On top of the cliffs west of Għajn Tuffieħa bay there is an old defense tower built in 1637. It is one of the seven towers built by Grand Master Giovanni Paolo Lascaris, of the Knights Hospitaller. Għajn Tuffieħa has a cafe, Riviera Martinique, at the foot of the access staircase.

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

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

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

Fort Manoel | Manoel Island, Malta | 1 August 2014

Fort Manoel is a fortification located on Manoel Island in Marsamxett Harbour to the north west of Valletta and commands the entrance to Marsamxett Harbour and the anchorage of Sliema Creek.

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

Fort Manoel is a fortification on the island of Malta. Fort Manoel is a star fort, with much of its ditches and walls formed from the native rock of Manoel Island. The fort was built by the Order of Saint John the patronage of Portuguese Grand Master António Manoel de Vilhena. The first stone was laid by de Vilhena himself on 14 September 1723, and work progressed rapidly. The gateway was built by 1726 and the ditch had been excavated by 1732. The fort was complete by 1755, although by this time de Vilhena had died. The original design work for a fort on the island, then known as Isolotto, was the work of the French engineer René Jacob de Tigné. The final design also incorporated the work of Charles François de Mondion, at that time the Order’s resident military engineer in charge of works of fortification and defence. Mondion also supervised the construction and after his death, he was buried in the fort’s chapel. The fort was an active military establishment initially under the Knights and later under British Military control from its construction through until 1906 when the British military finally decommissioned the fort’s guns.Military re-enactment of the Second World War at Fort Manoel.During the Second World War, a battery of 3.7-inch heavy anti-aircraft guns was deployed in and around the fort. The guns were mounted in concrete gun emplacements and deployed in a semicircle around the fort. The fort suffered considerable damage to its ramparts, barracks and chapel as a result of aerial bombing during the war. After this it was left abandoned and it suffered more damage from disuse and vandalism.

The fort was left in a state of disrepair for many years due to the ravages of time and damage sustained during the Second World War. In August 2001, MIDI plc began restoration work on the fort. Large parts of the fort were completely rebuilt, including the chapel and the main gate. It was reopened to the public on 31 October 2009. The restoration of Fort Manoel together with that of the nearby Fort Tigné cost a total of €30 million. Fort Manoel is featured in the fiction book Il-Misteru tal-Forti Manoel (The Mystery of Fort Manoel) by Charles Zarb published in 2007. Since the restoration the fort served as a location for the shooting of the climactic scene of the ninth episode (“Baelor”) of the TV series Game of Thrones.

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

© Tony Blood - Fort Manoel, Manoel Island. Valletta Malta, 1 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Fort Manoel, Manoel Island. Valletta Malta, 1 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Fort Manoel, Manoel Island. Valletta Malta, 1 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Fort Manoel, Manoel Island. Valletta Malta, 1 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