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The Saints Peter and Paul Counter-guard is an integral part of Valletta's original historic fortifications, constructed between 1630-1640 in response to the imminent threat of a Turkish invasion. Its construction was proposed by the Hospitaller Knight Don Giovanni de Medici, Marquis of St. Angelo. He advocated for the erection of a series of four counter-guards beyond the Valletta ditch to shield its land-front from long-range bombardment, given the advancing capabilities of artillery in the 17th century.

In 1940, it became part of the new Combined War Headquarters (War HQ Tunnels) established beneath the Upper Barracca Gardens by the British armed forces. Several radio communication masts were installed on it to serve the War HQ. In 1941, excavation commenced beneath it to create the St. Peter Galleries, intended to house the operational side of the new War HQ.

This counterguard stands as the best-preserved one and the only one in Valletta still standing in its original form., it retains nearly all of its original features, including its stone échauguette—the overhanging, wall-mounted turret designed for enemy sighting. The counter-guard encompasses a sizable 19th-century Gun Powder Magazine, which once supplied a significant portion of the artillery on the city walls, as well as a complete WW2 Mine-watching Post, intact 17th-century artillery steps, musketry platforms, two British 19th-century 24-pr carronades on their reclining platforms, various gates, and a stone fly bridge connecting it to the city's land front. Additionally, it is home to the oldest tree in Valletta, dating back to the Republican French occupation of Malta, making it approximately 200 years old. Plans are underway to restore its portcullis gate and drawbridge in the near future.



Monday - Saturday: 10.00 - 16:30
Last admission- 16:00 

(Except on 24,25 an
d 31 Dec, 1 Jan, Good Friday and Easter)
Available with the War HQ Tunnel tour (Read below for more info)

Entry from the Saluting Battery, Battery Street,
Valletta, VLT1221, Malta


Visiting the Saint Peter and Paul Counter-guard is available as part of the War HQ Tunnel guided tour. Guided tours are offered in English and take place between Monday to Saturday at 10.30am, 13.00pm and 14.30pm. Tours start from the Saluting Battery.

See Valletta's oldest tree at the Saint Peter and Paul Counter-guard which is over 200 years old


Opening Hours

Need More Info?

+356 21234717

Mon - Sat

10:00 am - 04:30 pm

(Except on 24,25 and 31 Dec, 1 Jan, Good Friday and Easter)




Access to the site is feasible from various points, but for regular visits, the most convenient route is from the Saluting Battery, where all guided tours commence. Simply follow the directional signs from the Saluting Battery, guiding you to Castille Place and onward into the Upper Barracca Gardens. As you proceed into the Upper Barracca Gardens, you will meet  a grand staircase leading you directly to the Saluting Battery


The Saint peter and Paul Counter-guard is best viewed with THE WAR HQ TUNNELS & THE LASCARIS WAR ROOMS of which between 1940 and 1973 it formed part. You can benefit from a 40% discount on ALL entries to our Museums if you will buy our Heritage Pass

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