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.
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.
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.
The Wignacourt Collegiate Museum at Rabat Malta has been reopened after a thorough refurbishment of the whole building – a baroque residence of the Chaplains of the Knights of Malta inaugurated by Grand Master Aloph de Wignacourt (1601-1622) as well as of its contents.
St Paul’s Grotto, the cradle of Christianity in Malta, the place where St Paul the Apostle in A.D. 60 is believed to have founded the first Christian Community on the island.