Wignacourt Tower, St Paul’s Bay

October 6, 2011

 

 This Tower was built in 1610 by Grand Master Alof de Wignacourt and is the oldest surviving coastal defence post in Malta.

This Tower was the first of a number of coastal defence towers built round Malta. It was built at the expense of Grand Master Alof de Wignacourt in1610 and designed by the Maltese architect Vittorio Cassar. The only entrance to the Tower at first floor was approached over a drawbridge from a flight of stone steps. These steps were unfortunately removed in the early 1960’s as they were considered to be hindering traffic in front of the Tower. The ground floor entrance is not part of the original building.

 

From 1610-49, Wignacourt Tower was Malta’s northernmost defensive outpost until St Agatha’s Tower (the Red Tower) was built in Mellieha. In 1715 a coastal battery was added to increase its firepower. During the eighteenth century, the Tower was equipped with two 6-pounder and three 18-pounder cannon and in the following century it was used as a police station and telegraph post.

The Tower was leased to Din l-Art Helwa in 1970, and restored under the direction of architect Ray Vassallo, a member of Din l-Art Helwa, between 1973-76. In 1998 an exhibition of models of fortifications around Malta, set up by Dr Stephen Spiteri, was opened. The second floor houses another exhibition of the typical equipment and weapons of the period.

This Tower was recently restored between November 2014 and April 2015. The Malta Tourism Authority (MTA) obtained funds from the European Regional Development Fund for Sustainable Tourism for this project.  The restoration team was lead by MTA architect Kevin Fsadni as Project Development Director, Francelle Azzopardi as Project Executive and architect Simon Darmanin as Project Manager while Stanley Farrugia Randon represented Din l-Art Helwa. AX Holdings were entrusted with the project and was performed under Conservation Consultant Fabio Billi. Upon completion of restoration on all external walls, further ancillary upgrading work were carried out by Din l-Art Helwa volunteer Martin Vella and Executive Member Stanley Farrugia Randon. This work was carried out with MTA funds. Staff from the Eden Leisure Group cleaned and decorated the interior areas before the official opening which was held on the 6th April 2015.

Wignacourt Tower is generally opened daily between 10am to 1pm Mondays to Saturdays and the first Sunday of each month, pending volunteer`s availability. Visitors should contact our offices on 21225952, 21220358 when planning their visit to this Tower.

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