Glacis of Fort Rinella re-exposed
The last remaining part of the original defensive glacis of Fort Rinella has been cleared from tons of accumulated debris, illegal bird-trapping structures and over-grown vegetation. This work will allow FWA to restore this part of the fort to its original state. Other work that calls for attention is the restoration of the much dilapidated perimeter wall surrounding this piece of land. In the course of clearing work, two Second World War bomb craters along with numerous ground holdfasts for post-war naval signalling masts were found. These are being preserved for inclusion in a new heritage walk which will be created around the open grounds of the fort and throughout which the various historic elements will be interpreted and highlighted for the benefit of visitors.
Gun Salute for MS Prinsendam
A gun salute was today fired from the Saluting Battery in Valletta on the occasion of the departure of the cruise ship MS Prinsendam at 4.30pm. The ship was in Malta on a scheduled visit.
The MS Prinsendam was launched by the Cunard line as the Royal Viking Sunin 1988. It changed its name twice since then as the Seabourne Sun in 1999 and to its present one in 2002. At present it is operated by the Holland-America Line and is registered at Rotterdam in the Netherlands. It was built by the Wärtsilä in Turku, Finland.
This ship has a tonnage of 37,848 GT and is 674.2 ft (205.5 m) long with a beam of 91.8 ft (28.0 m) and a draught of 23.6 ft (7.2 m). It has 9 passenger decks and can carry 793 passengers and 443 crew. This vessel is capable of achieving a maximum speed of 22 knots (41 km/h; 25 mph) and a service speed of 18.5 knots (34.3 km/h; 21.3 mph). This vessel is represented in Malta by Mifsud Brothers Limited.
Landscaping works at Fort Rinella
A row of sixty Aleppo Pines were planted along one of the flanks of the new display arena at Fort Rinella, Kalkara. This exercise forms part of a wider landscaping effort to improve the immediate surroundings of the historic fort.
A new irrigation system has also been installed to water these trees and other vegetation that will soon be planted. Prior to this work, an old water cistern dating back to the time when the fort was built had been restored and water-proofed. This cistern is capable of storing no less than 96,000 gallons of rainwater. Water catchment areas have also been devised to direct rain water into this cistern. This project is being funded by FWA through funds raised directly from the operation of the fort as a historic attraction.
Start-up guns for Rolex Middle Sea Yacht Race
Saturday 20th, proved to be a very busy day at the Saluting Battery. Once again, FWA has been tasked by the Royal Malta Yacht Club to fire the start-up guns for this year's edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Yacht Race. The Rolex Middle Sea Race got off to a spectacular start in Grand Harbour despite a strong head wind which complicated matters for the 83 participating boats.
The Middle Sea Race, which takes participants all round Sicily and back to Malta, is the last major race of the year in the Mediterranean.
Successful equestrian-themed event held at Fort Rinella
The much-awaited equestrian event, Equus, came to a successful conclusion on Sunday, 28 October 2012. The events arena at Fort Rinella was specially rigged up with props for the occasion. A number of showmen and re-enactors, who were purposely brought from the UK, wowed the watching audience with their prowess and skills and more so with their breath-taking stunts on horseback.
The seating provided was totally taken up and many late-comers had to stand throughout the show. But, seated, or standing, there was space for all. Many snapped photos to their heart’s content attempting to capture the adrenalin-packed movements of the skilled horsemen. The performers were much buoyed by the appreciative audience which showed its support with cheering and clapping of hands.
At one point a brief spell of light rain threatened the continuation of the show, but this failed to dampen the spirits of the performers who carried on with their act and kept the audience in place. At the end of the event there was a general feeling of satisfaction, with many asking when we shall be holding another event like this.
FWA holds a Service of Remembrance at the Saluting Battery
Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna held a Service of Remembrance at the Saluting Battery on Saturday, 10 November 2012. Usually this is held on the 11 November, but this year this would have clashed with the official Remembrance Day commemoration on the War Memorial in Floriana. By holding this annual appointment Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna is persevering in keeping alive the memory of the war dead.
The gates of the Saluting Battery were thrown wide open and members of the public were freely allowed to enter and witness the proceedings. Whilst many availed themselves of this opportunity, others preferred the bird’s-eye view from the Upper Barrakka gallery.
In a short, but dignified commemoration, homage was paid to the hundreds of servicemen who sacrificed their lives in the course of the First and the Second World Wars and subsequent conflicts. Members of the Royal Marine Association and of the King’s Own Malta Regiment Association were in attendance. An address and short prayers were read by the Reverend Canon Simon Godfrey, and the Reverend Fr Martin Schembri. This was followed by the sounding of the Last Post symbolizing the eternal sleep of those who died. A shot from one of the Saluting Battery’s guns heralded the start of two minutes’ silence following which the Reveille was played, symbolizing the belief in life after death. After the concluding blessing the serried file of veteran servicemen was ordered to fall-out.
With the conclusion of the commemoration, those present could enjoy some light refreshments whilst having a little chat in an informal setting.
A live wartime bomb safely destroyed at Fort Rinella
An unexploded wartime bomb was safely destroyed by personnel of the Explosives Ordnance Disposal (EOD) of the Armed Forces of Malta at Fort Rinella, Kalkara. The bomb in question was a German SD2 (Sprengbombe Dickwandig 2 k). This type of bomb is better known as ‘butterfly bomb’ and weighs 2kg. The SD2 was designed for anti-personnel purposes. It was dropped from aircraft in large metal pods that would open up in mid-air to disperse large quantities of these small bomblets. The German SD2 would leave its mother pod in a small spring-loaded metal cylinder made from four hinged parts and which would open-up to form metal butterfly-like wings that would lessen the rate by which it would fall to the ground. SD2 bombs are known to be highly unstable and dangerous. FWA wishes to commend the high-level of professionalism shown by the EOD personnel in this task.
MEPA approves FWA application to restore the original entrance of the Saluting Battery in Valletta
MEPA approved FWA’s application for the restoration of the original entrance to the Saluting Battery which will include the rebuilding of the old Master-Gunner's Quarters.
The original entry gate to the Saluting Battery was on Battery Street. It was only in 1923 that the staircase connecting the Battery to the Upper Barracca Garden was constructed.
The Master-Gunner's Quarters were built some time in the 1860s to serve as lodging for the officer in whose charge the Saluting Battery was. One of the Master Gunner’s tasks was to ensure the punctual firing of the time-gun from the Saluting Battery, thereby furnishing the garrison with an accurate means of public time-keeping. This building was destroyed during the Second World War.
The area upon which the Master Gunner's Quarters was built is currently occupied by a wooden kiosk and café tables. Now, the area in question will once again return to form an integral part of the lower tier of St Peter and St Paul bastion, thus enabling its full rehabilitation. This will form part of an extensive heritage trail, managed by FWA, which will incorporate the Saluting Battery, Lascaris War Rooms, and St Peter and St Paul Counterguard.
Rare wartime Italian map donated to FWA
A super-rare wartime Italian military map of Malta was donated to Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna for display in one of its heritage sites and museums. The map consists of a large A-1 size map issued by Super Aerea – the High Command of the Regia Aeronautica (Royal Italian Airforce) dated 1941. This map shows all the military objectives on the island from fortifications, gun batteries, military camps, machinegun positions, signal station, airfields, naval installations and much more. It also carries a highly detailed list of all place names in Malta. The map was issued for joint Italian and German use; hence it also includes the German language. It is marked ‘Secret’ in bold and carries the order ‘Not to be taken in the air’.
The map was presented to FWA Chairman Mario Farrugia by Fiammetta Curcio of Rome through the good services of Antione Blanchez. Ms Curcio is the daughter of Ing. Dante Curcio who during the war was an Italian air force officer employed in the jamming of the RAF radar stations on Malta. Ing. Curcio was credited with the breaking of the British Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) signal by which British aircraft would identify themselves to ground defences.
The map will now be sent for expert cleaning and conservation for eventual display at the Malta at War Museum in Vittoriosa.
Rebuilding of traditional dry-stone walls at Fort Rinella
Work is currently under way to rebuild large stretches of traditional dry-stone walls in the surroundings of Fort Rinella. Many of the original walls were in a state of bad repair as a result of the accumulated effects of decades of neglect.
In rebuilding the walls traditional methods alone are being used. This implies that the only binding agents are the force of gravity and friction. Since in traditional methods no mortar is used, rainwater is allowed to meander and seep through the gaps between the pieces of rock that make up the walls. These walls require great skill to build and in dexterous hands the results are a neat and sturdy construction.
In all some 400 meters of walls will be repaired and rebuilt. Where possible repairs are being effected using any of the original rocks that are still available.
RAF Northolt group visits the Lascaris War Rooms
On Monday 25 February 2013 a small group of senior staff from RAF Northolt visited the Lascaris War Rooms. The group consisted of the station’s Deputy Commander, Wing Commander Dan Storr, the Media and Communications Officer, Squadron Leader Richard Wills, and Dan Stirland who is the Curator for Building 27 and the Uxbridge Bunker. The visitors were taken around the old and the new War H.Q. complexes. Later they were toured around the new Malta at war Museum in Birgu.
In the course of this visit, RAF Northolt generously donated an original Second World War telephone set which was used in the Airfield Operations Room at Luqa; a framed and signed print showing Hurricanes flying past Building 27; and a replica plotting block as used to plot movements on the main plotting table.
FWA has a long-standing cooperation arrangement with RAF Northolt, which hosts Building 27 that is also known as the “Sir Keith Park Building”. This building was a Z-Sector Operations Room during the Second World War. During the Battle of Britain, Z-Sector was one of seven sectors within No.11 Group. Air Vice-Marshal Park, the AOC of No.11 Group, was the person who devised the strategy and tactics that kept the Luftwaffe at bay. His success was such that the Germans nicknamed him "Defender of London". Furthermore, during his days as a Group Captain, Park had been Station Commander of RAF Northolt from 1931 - 1932.
The Sir Keith Park Building at RAF Northolt is currently undergoing renovation, including the reconstruction of the Z-Sector Operations Room. Upon completion, the Sir Keith Park Building and the Battle of Britain Bunker at RAF Uxbridge will form two parts of the Fighter Command chain of command.
Parliamentary Secretary Visits Madliena Tower
On 7 May 2013, Parliamentary Secretary Dr Ian Borg visited the Madliena Tower, in Pembroke, which is managed by FWA. The tower has recently undergone restoration that was financed from EU funds. Madliena Tower forms part of the Pembroke military heritage trail that is managed by FWA. This consists of a Victorian foot bridge, a late-Victorian examination battery, a fougasse of the Order of St John, a second world war concrete gun post, together with an infantry trench and stone defence post. Dr Borg expressed appreciation for the good work undertaken by FWA.
The full Press Release relating to this visit, that was issued by the Department of Information, may be read by following this link
History in Action event at Fort Rinella
On Sunday 5May 2013, Fort Rinella in Kalkara was abuzz with activity as Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna held its annual History in Action event. This much awaited yearly appointment which is a mixture of education and entertainment culminates with the firing of the 100-ton gun. There was something for everyone– informative guided tours, instructional displays, food-stalls, historical entertainment, and the soul-shaking bang of the 100-ton gun. All this and the glorious weather made for an unforgettable day out for the many visitors and FWA members who went to Fort Rinella.
In the afternoon Fort Rinella was visited by Parliamentary Secretary for Culture and Local Government, Dr José Herrera, who was invited to fire the 100-ton gun. The mighty voice of gun brought a round of applause and smiles all round as the spectators were positively impressed by a show of awesome power which did not let down expectations.
Zabbar local council holds Press Conference at Notre Dame Gate
The Zabbar Local Council lately held a press conference at Notre Dame Gate, Vittoriosa to provide details about the International Food Festival which the Council held over the week-end 30 May – 2 June 2013. Notre Dame gate was chosen as the venue for this press conference on the basis of this site’s historic ties with Zabbar. The event was presided by the Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, the Hon. Dr Jose’ Herrera.
Notre Dame Gate, which houses the head office of FWA, falls within the boundaries of three local councils – the front with Zabbar, the right-wing with Cospicua and the left-wing with Vittoriosa. Given that the entrance door is on the left, FWA considers the building to fall within the precincts of Vittoriosa.
Former Ammunition Dump at Ta' Stronka Surveyed
Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna has undertaken a thorough photographic survey of the former British military compound at Ta' Stronka limits of Mosta. This compound started off as coast artillery Fire Direction Station in the late 19th century and went on to become a very important British Army ammunition dump. Although the original gateway has long been demolished and parts of the property have been compromised by development, there are still present on site numerous stand-alone ammunition sheds, a huge Fire Direction building consisting of three levels, two Position Finding Cells (used for locating artillery targets), a very interesting guard house complete with an observation turret and large colonial villa possibly used as living quarters for the compound commandant and later used as an administrative block.
All buildings present on site are in need of attention albeit largely complete. FWA is currently drawing a conservation proposal for some of the more important buildings to be retained ro relocated.
FWA has undertaken this work on the basis that government has recently published its intentions of allocating the footprint of the same for the development of villas.
'Refuge Room' to be added to the Malta at War Museum
Work is currently at hand at the Malta at War Museum, Vittoriosa to reconstruct a full-scale wartime ‘Refuge Room’ the type of which were recommended by the authorities to be prepared in all private houses in the event of war. This addition to the museum is but one of a number of faithful reconstructions all meant to depict different types of air raid shelters from the last war. The ‘Refuge Room’ was to be an internal room in a house ideally cushioned by other rooms around it to resist the direct impact of exploding bombs. It was to be well sealed against the entry of war gasses and have all apertures protected against bomb blast. Furthermore, it was to be well provisioned with enough food and furnished with utensils and furniture to make daily life spent in it easy and possible for long durations. Featured in the adjacent photograph are a numeber of period utensils which have been cleaned and repaired for the project.
Napoleonic French military button found near Fort Rinella
A curious bronze French military button was accidentally found in the open grounds around Fort Rinella in Kalkara. The button measures 1.5cm in diameter and features an embossed ‘51’ numerical positioned in a decorative horseshoe enclosure. It is cast in bronze and shows no maker marks. The button has been cleaned and conserved while historical research is going on to establish its origins and why it was located where it was found. So far it has been established that the button is French dating to the first two decades of the 19th century. It belonged to a regiment of the line who fought in Alexandria, Egypt and had surrendered to the British. The button may have been picked by a British soldier as a souvenir and brought to Malta. The open ground around Fort Rinella is known to have served from time to time as encampment space for the military over the years.
Old kitchenalia for the Malta at War Museum
A sizable quantity of 1930s enameled kitchenalia has recently been donated to FWA by a private individual. This has now been cleaned and restored for inclusion in the new wartime Refuge Room in one part of the underground air raid shelters under the Malta at War Museum. House tenants were devised to prepare one such room equipped with all for the eventuality of a war in the 1930s. All cleaning and restoration work was carried out in house by FWA staff.
Wooden benches & flower plants at the Saluting Battery
The middle entrance into the Saluting Battery has been beautified with flower plants and shrubs to make the whole place more welcoming and attractive. Plants have also been placed on either side of the stairs that lead down into the battery from the Upper Barracca Garden. Twelve wooden benches have also been purchased for this site and placed along the bastion wall under the arches for use by the visiting public.
For the last few years FWA’s name was synonymous with 19th and 20th century British military heritage and history in Malta. Through the hard travails of one of its most dedicated young senior staff members, FWA has now a fully equipped late-Renaissance equip that represents faithful and historically correct representations of mounted and foot elements of the best elements of the Order’s army in Malta in the early 1600s. Fully functional working examples of plated armour have been especially commissioned in the continent for this project. Examples from the world famous armour collection kept at the Palace Armour in Valletta have been recreated. Support for this work was graciously obtained from government through the Malta Tourism Authority. When fully complete and trained, this new unit will start gracing the old streets of Valletta with its colourful and evocative representations. More regular displays will be taking place at the St. Peter and St. Paul’s counter-guard in Valletta which in 2014 will be opened to the public as part of the new multi-period military history park that will encompass nothing less than 500 years of continued Maltese military history. Other commitments are planned to take place at St. Thomas Tower in M’Scala.
Disgraceful state of access to the Lascaris War Rooms
FWA has written to the authorities to complain on the disgraceful state of access to the Lascaris War Rooms via St. James Ditch and Ganado Gardens in Floriana. This access is not only littered with accumulated rubbish and plastered with ugly wall graffiti but it is also daily partially blocked by unregulated car parking and the surface is broken and potholed which turns itself into a veritable mire each time it rains.
Given the current works in the Valletta ditch this entrance is one of only two leading to the Lascaris War Rooms, the National Statistics Office and the Commerce Division. It is also the most popular one in use. FWA has requested that the area is cleaned and that the road surface is repaired. It has also requested closer vigilance in the garden against all sorts of abuse not least the litter, vandalism, theft and painted graffiti perpetuated by an ugly mix of undesirables and anti-social elements which have made this part of the garden as their habitual meeting point.
Replica Redifussion cable radio set
A replica wartime Redifussion cable radio set has been made in house by FWA staff for display in the new Refuge Room at the Malta at War museum in Vittoriosa. The copy is based on a period original kept in the museum.
Radio broadcasting was started in Malta in 1935 by British company Rediffusion. This was started on the instigation of the colonial authorities to help them counter the daily onslaught of radio propaganda broadcasts from Fascist Italy. By the start of the war, the radio service only had 3,500 subscribers and its reach just covered Valletta and the nearby towns.to make up for this handicap, public loudspeakers were installed in all public spaces around Malta.
Redifussion offered English and Maltese programmes. It transmitted the BBC news at midday and in the evening, light entertainment, news bulletins and government broadcasts including special talks and the signalling of air-raid warnings to listeners.
FWA was ecently compelled to replace all of the directional signage leading to the Malta at War Museum in Vittoriosa following its sudden disappearance. This strange episode took place during a given night when someone intent at obliterating all museum signage within the confines of Vittorosa took the trouble to surgically remove them one by one. The matter was reported to both Transport Malta and the Police who are investigating the matter.
Replica Gun Powder Cartridge
Two replica gun powder cartridges were made for display at the Saluting Battery, Valletta. The examples made are 12-pdr ones and they follow the approved patterns in use by the British military in the late-19th century. They are made from white fabric and come complete with narrow dark blue fabric hooping which served to keep the cartridge in shape after filling with gun powder. The completed cartridges are displayed as both filled and empty thus giving the viewing public the opportunity to see how the mechanics of fabric gun powder cartridge works.
Armistice Day Display at the Lascaris War Rooms
A temporary display focusing on the history of Armistice Day and its significance is available at the Lascaris War Rooms. Valletta. This display is a tribute to all the war dead. This effort was carried out by staff member Wayne Sailard using exhibits from hsi own personal collection. The display will stay on till Monday 18 November.
Armistice Day at the Saluting Battery
Despite the most inclement weather on the morning of Monday 11th November, our annual Armistice Day Commemoration still went on as planned albeit mostly under cover due to the incessant down pour. Large contingents from HMS Dragon and the Royal Marines Association (Malta) took part along with the Royal British Legion, the Royal Navy Association and the Royal Air Force Association. His Excellency the British High Commissioner was also present. An ecumenical service was jointly celebrated by the Chancellor of St. Paul’s Pro-cathedral, Rev. Canon Simon Godfrey; the Arch-priest of St. Dominic’s Parish in Valletta, Rev. Michael Camilleri Op; the Chaplain of HMS Dragon, the Rev. James Francis RN with the participation of Warrant Officer Class I Daily Charles Royal Marines, Mario Farrugia, Chairman FWA and Anthony Bugjea, FWA volunteer. Two minute guns were fired to mark the period of silence and wreaths were laid.
Replica of 18th century Gunner's Port-fire Made
A faithful replica of an 18th century Gunner's port fire was recreated by FWA for display and use in hands-on interpretation at some of its military historic sites such as the Saluting Battery in Valletta.
As its name implies, a port fire is a tool used to carry 'fire' which in this case would be a length of slow match and is used to light up a cannon. The example recreated is a standard British example issued to shore and field batteries.
Very few complete original examples of this kind survive. FWA has based this example on period drawings and descriptions in official military manuals and documentation from the period along with a detailed examination of some surviving examples preserved in foreign museums namely in the UK.
This example was recreated using identical materials and using period blacksmith techniques.
Final phase of new Military Heritage Park in Valletta kick started
The final phase in the completion of a new multi-period military heritage park on the doorstep of Valletta has been kick-started with the presentation of the keys to AX Construction Ltd. - the works contractor who has won the contract for refurbishing the remaining parts of the historic property. A public competition was held for this work.
The works are being co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the Government of Malta and FWA. The new military heritage park encompasses no less than 28,000 square meters of property which includes the Saluting Battery, the Garrison Church Crypt (formerly the WW2 Coast Artillery Gun Room), the St. Peter's & Paul Counter guard (formerly the WW2 Map Room & the War HQ Communication Platform) and the Lascaris Underground Tunnels which housed the WW2 War Headquarters and later the NATO CommCen from where the movements of Soviet Submarines in the Med were tracked.
In the end, this project would have cost €2.3 million. When ready it will represent the uninterrupted military history of Malta from the Great Siege of 1565 all the way to the Cold War. It will also be the largest and most complete attraction of its sort in the country. The planned works are expected to take 30 weeks to complete.
The outer skin of the counter-guard is being currently restored by the Restoration Directorate. FWA is responsible for the restoration of all internal parts.
Void-filling Exercise at the Bent-entry of Fort Rinella
A thorough exercise of void-filling is currently at hand at Fort Rinella. This is aimed at tackling the cavernous empty spaces within the exposed natural rock face of the sunken parts of the Bent-entry of the fort as a result of years of wind erosion. In doing so, traditional materials and building methods are being used in the same way as recommended by the Royal Engineers in their fortress building manuals for the 19th and early 20th century. The extensive void created in the rock face had caused parts of it to become dangerous for visitors and was crumbling at a very fast rate. Recycled dry stone is being used for the void filling. In filling the empty gaps, the original dimensions of the roadway are being preserved and respected.
New Gate-keepers at Fort Rinella
Two English Georgian cannon have been placed as gate-keepers on either side of the entrance of Fort Rinella. The two cannon are from the early 19th century and are mounted on replica iron garrison carriages. The two cannon are of the Blomfield type and have a calibre of 24 and 32 pounds respectively.
Historic Musket Parts Donated to FWA
William Phelps of Welsh Arms Auctions has very kindly donated to FWA a quantity of original Snider-Enfield parts to FWA. The Snider- Enfield is one of the many examples of historic weaponry used by our interpreters in their displays at Fort Rinella. The British .577 Snider-Enfield was a breech loading rifle. The firearm action was invented by the American Jacob Snider, and the Snider-Enfield was one of the most widely used of the Snider varieties. It was adopted by the British Army a s a conversion system for its ubiquitous Pattern 1853 Enfield muzzle-loading rifles. It was introduced in 1866, ad was used by the British Army until it was superseded by the Martini-Henry rifle in 1871. The Snider-Enfield was used by the British Indian Army almost to the end of the 19th century.
Historic Artillery collection relocated
The historic artillery collection which till present was in open storage at Fort Rinella has been re-organized and relocated to a dedicated area of the land around the fort. Work is currently at hand in the refurbishing and re-interpretation of these guns in line with a long-term strategy of establishing an Artillery Museum at Fort Rinella.
Starting guns - Rolex Middlesea Yacht Race
FWA has yet again provided the cannon signals for the Rolex Middle Sea Race from the Saluting Battery on Saturday, 19 October .
The Rolex Middle Sea Race is one of the most popular events in Malta and attracts thousands of spectators each year. The start of the the Rolex Middle Sea Race is from the Grand Harbour opposite the Saluting Battery and Fort St. Angelo. The Rolex Middle Sea Race is a highly rated offshore classic and is seen as a must do race with participants from all over Europe register for the event. This year's was the 34th edition and it had attracted over 100 participants making it the largest number so far.
Victory Day Gun Salute
A full gun salute was fired from the Saluting Battery on 8 September to mark Victory Day. The gun salute started with the daily noon-day gun and went on till all saluting guns in the battery were expended. Guided tours were carried out before and after the salute in both Maltese and English.
Also on the same day, gun signals were fired for the first time from the Saluting Battery to mark the start of the various categories of boat races making the traditional Victory Day regatta. The opening hours of the Battery were extended on the day till the end of the traditional boat races. Both occasions were very well attended by the public.
FWA supports the relocation of the National Aquaculture Center away from Fort St Lucian
Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna welcomes the news that government is actively considering the relocation of the National Aquaculture Centre from Fort St Lucian in Marsaxlokk to a new purposely-built building. FWA has been campaigning for many years for the release of this historic fort from its present industrial use and for its restoration. Fort St. Lucian was turned into the National Aquaculture Centre in 1988 and has since suffered a lot of damage to its fabric through lack of preservation and misuse.
The fort was originally built by the Order of St. John in 1610 to ward off corsair attacks. Its building cost 11, 745 Scudi. The tower commands the whole of Marsaxlokk harbour. In the 18th century a semi-circular battery was added to its front. It was armed with five 10-pound cannon and two 6-pound cannon. A ditch was excavated around the tower and battery in 1795.
In 1641, the guns of this tower drove off a small Ottoman invasion galley fleet which tried to make a landing on Marsaxlokk. During the French invasion of 1798, St Lucian was the only fort to see any action and to hold against the enemy. Subsequently, during the two-year blockade, the British used it as a final fall position after digging a continuous entrenchment from coast to coast.
In 1873, authority was given for the re-armament of the tower with three 10-inch 18-ton Rifled Muzzle Loading guns mounted in a new casemated battery. Fort St. Lucian has also the unconfirmed distinction of being the only place in Malta where nuclear bombs were stored by the British during a particular period of the Cold War.
Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna strongly believes that the process for the relocation of the NAC from this tower ought to be given top priority and that the tower should be restored and opened to the public as a historic attraction.
Three FWA heritage sites voted amongst Malta's top ten attractions
In the ratings compiled by the international travel website Trip Advisor.com, Fort Rinella has placed third after Mdina and St. John's Co-cathedral while the Saluting Battery has placed in tenth position. The Noon-day gun which is fired daily from the Saluting Battery has obtained many good ratings which however have been posted with reviews of the Upper Barracca Gardens which is in the eighth position. The Lascaris War Rooms has been voted the second best attraction in Valletta after St. John's Co-cathedral.
The ratings are based on reviews posted on the travel website by individual persons to rate the places they visit. Fort Rinella has been described as "The best living history venue we've ever visited"; "Incredible value for money"; "A truly living museum" and "Just Brilliant". The staff and volunteers at Fort Rinella are described as “astonishingly knowledgeable”, “dedicated” and possessing “enthusiasm in bucket loads”.
TripAdvisor.com is a world-wide travel website that assists customers in gathering travel information, posting reviews and opinions of travel-related content and engaging in interactive travel forums. This website is visited by millions of persons every day. Thus the good rankings obtained by FWA attractions on this highly influential travel website give FWA, its staff and volunteers great satisfaction.
At present FWA manages Fort Rinella in Kalkara, the Malta at War Museum in Vittoriosa, the Lascaris War Rooms and the Saluting Battery in Valletta. Besides these sitesit is also responsible for a number of
other cultural heritage sites which are spread all over the island. FWA currently employs 34 persons and every year attracts thousands of local and foreign tourists to its sites and attractions.
F.W.A. welcomes the new National Celebrations Foundation
Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna enthusiastically welcomes the government's decision to delegate the celebration of national festivities to a newly formed National Celebrations Foundation headed by Professor Oliver Friggieri.
FWA feels that this decision is long overdue and correct. It also thinks that it is politically courageous and wise for the Prime Minister to announce it, and is more than certain that in due time it will help in ridding the nation from the wholly unnecessary burden of political partisanship and all the ills it brings with it.
FWA wishes well to the new foundation and offers it its full support.
FWA welcomes the temporary return of the De Valette Sword and Dagger to Malta
Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna welcomes Government’s success in securing the temporary return to Malta from France of the De Valette sword and dagger. These two historic artefacts carry a deep and great significance in the collective memory of the Maltese nation. They were presented to Grand Master Jean De Valette, the hero of the Great Siege of 1565, by King Philip II of Spain as a sign of gratitude for the Order’s role in stemming the Ottoman domination of Europe. Ever since their removal as prize of war from the island by the French in 1798, successive generations of Maltese have ceaselessly longed for their return. It is therefore with great satisfaction to note that after two centuries this long-standing wish is to become reality, even if for a definite period.