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Lines, Lines Everywhere: The Ultimate Guide To Malta’s Prolific Fort-Building History, Part 2

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Fortress Island. Malta’s petname throughout the British era was bestowed for a reason. Coastal towers, war rooms, saluting batteries, redoubts and fortresses are strategically placed everywhere we look. 

Some of our fortifications date back to the Bronze Age, because apparently we were quite bored and had not much else to do. Throughout this series, we will be guiding you into understanding and knowing our fortifications. You know, just in case you’ll find yourself needing to understand the island’s forts, or God forbid have to build one for yourself.

1. Floriana Lines

Is-Swar tal-Furjana is a line of shabby, run-down and shitty-looking swar which surround the Valletta fortifications for some extra protection — kind of like a double condom. 

They were built in 1636 and were not used at all during the times of the Knights, but at least they were put to use during the French Blockade. So it’s ok, they were not completely useless like some other lines certain other Imperialists built. 

It’s a pity that nobody gives a shit about these lines, because they’re one of the most elaborate constructions the Knights of St. John ever made. Yes, ever.

2. Cottonera and Santa Margherita Lines

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The pretty Cottonera lines are those lovely fortifications surrounding the three Cities. They were originally built by the Knights of St. John to protect the Grand Harbour area and they consist of eight bastions, seven gates and nine curtain walls. Most of these lines are depilated AF, but they still manage to look pretty on Google Maps. 

One of the most known gates of these lines is the Notre Dame Gate in Bormla. Graffiti from the Knights’ era can still be found etched over this gate, but yeah, just let it all go to ruin.

The Cottonera Lines are among the most beautiful we have on this island, and it’s a pity to see such a priceless treasure go to waste like this.

3. Corradino Lines

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Corradino Lines are the least known on the island. These lines were built in 1871 by the British in order to seal off the Grand Harbour area. 

They’re also in an extremely shit state due to the industrial development in the area. They originally ran from St. Paul Bastions and into the Grand Harbour Ras Ħanżir area. 

The British never really used these lines and abandoned them after a while, using them briefly during the Second World War as an infantry entrenchment. A section of these lines looks like a badly-put together DIY metal sheet turret fashioned from the carcass of a warship — a QF 4-inch Mark V naval gun which was used on Scott class destroyers during the First World War.

4. The Victoria Lines

These are the most well preserved lines on the island, and we really feel ashamed saying that because they’re in a bit of a shit state. 

They start at the Madliena Heights and finish off at Fomm ir-Riħ. These lines were built by the British and their purpose was to keep invaders from advancing into our island. The thing is, they’re kind of situated in the middle of the island, so, yeah, not that effective as a first line of defence.

But at least they offer a great walk and an amazing view. You can walk all the way across Malta just by following the Victoria Lines, so at least we have that to thank the Brits for. 

Tag a fan of forts, lines and history

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