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Way More Than The Two Towers: The Ultimate Guide To Malta’s Prolific Fort-Building History, Part 3

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Towers. De Redin was seriously into them, and Malta quickly became dotted with them thanks to this guy and other Grand Masters.

This guy literally littered Malta with towers in order to win the Fort-Building competition which spanned for centuries. De Redin built 13 towers in order to compete with the Borġ in-Nadur one in Birżebbuġa (read: Miami) which still stands to this day in an effort to win the competition.

Martin De Redin

Sex on a Stick

1. Aħrax Tower

This tower is located somewhere between Daħlet ix-Xmajjar and Daħlet it-Torri and it looks over the Comino channel. De Redin paid for it and all, because he did not believe in using the public’s taxes to build his own towers (or promote his own Facebook posts).

This tower was armed with four muskets, two bronze cannons and some cannon balls. When the British came over, they desperately wanted to take part in the Fort Building Competition so they took off De Redin’s coat of arms and attached theirs to the tower.

We’re not sure whether, at this point, the British had yet grasped the concept of building their own shit.

2. Dwejra Tower

Dwejra Tower was built by another avid competitor — Grand Master Jean Paul Lascaris Castellar. Lascaris, who was famous for his cheery smile, went ahead and took money from the University of Gozo to build this tower. One can find a bunch of salt pans right in front of the tower which were used to produce and sell some local salt. 

Lascaris, being the notorious dickhead he was, decided to smooth out Dwejra’s Fungus Rock to make access to this stupid tower difficult. As some of you might already know, Fungus Rock was the only place on this whole godforsaken island where a fabled, medicinal fungus grew. Thanks Lascaris!

3. Għallis Tower

Another De Redin entry for the Fort Building Competition. This watchtower was supposedly designed to warn the locals of any incoming pirates or invaders, but we all know that De Redin really built it to get another shot at winning the competition. 13 towers guys. Seriously.

This cutie is found in Naxxar, and what’s really interesting about it though is the system that was used to warn the locals. Basically, if a watchman from the Għallies Tower saw an invader approaching, he would light a bonfire at night or wave a red flag by day to send out a warning signal. 

These signals would be lit in all the other towers, until the fire eventually reached Valletta. We’re not really sure how one would know from which tower the signal started, since most probably every single tower would be lit, but it definitely sounds a hell of a lot like something out of The Lord of the Rings.

4. Santa Marija Tower

This one was built by Wignacourt in Comino and was used as a defence and communication post between Ċittadella and Mdina.

Sadly for Wignacourt, this tower was built in a bit of a vulnerable position and the current battering from the elements has given the fort some extensive damage. There are many cracks in it which caused some heavy leakage throughout the years, thus making this tower not much of a worthy competitor to the De Redin ones.

5. Santa Cecilia Tower

This Għajnsielem tower was built by some random rookie who wanted a piece of the Fort competition cake — Fra Bernardo Macedonia. It’s still in great condition, and is not government property. 

Għajnslemiżi (?) found refuge in this sexy fort whenever pirates attacked Gozo. Although this tower is kind of plain, it has really cute hip knobs on top and in corners.

6. St. Agatha’s Tower

This was another Lascaris creation which was built back in 1647. It is one of the most famous towers because in order to win some bonus points, Lascaris painted it red. This tower in Mellieħa is plagued by millions of steps and walking up to it is a complete bitch. The view at the end, however, is well worth it.

Since both the Brits and the Armed Forces of Malta have throughout the years had no idea what the rules of this fort-building competition entail, the two tried to take it over and use it both as a defence post and a radar station. Sorry guys, but Lascaris is still the OG owner here.

7. Captain’s Tower

Captains Tower  Naxxar Malta

It-Torri tal-Kaptan in Naxxar is the Knights of St. John’s collective entry in the competition, and boy did they do a great job. Seriously, this tower is so pretty we can’t even believe that it’s one of the earliest things the Knights built here. 

The tower’s design is quite simplistic and has a number of machicolations and tiny houses for carrier pigeons to hang out in. 

When De Redin entered the competition, this tower pretty much lost its defensive purpose. De Redin was quite literally the Knights era Ċaqnu.

8. Torre dello Stendardo


This Mdina baby was built  as part of the city’s fortifications to replace a tower which was already there, because apparently the Knights wanted a fancier one. And hey, who are we to judge?

Nowadays, the pretty tower is still in use and you can totally walk in and ask the Mdina Malta Tourism Authority what’s going on with  this particular gate

9. Cavalier Tower

The Cavalier Tower housed the Captain of the Knights, and it looks astounding. 

It’s this octagonal-ish three-storey tower with a cool underground Second World War shelter right underneath it. 

10. Sopu Tower

This watchtower in Nadur is right on top of the cliffs between San Blas and Daħlet Qorrot. It was built by Cotoner, another competitor in the Fort Building Competition and is sadly one of the few surviving towers in Gozo. 

11. Marsalforn Tower

Marsalforn Tower 1924

Wignacourt’s other babygem was built in 1616 in Xagħra, Gozo. It formed part of a defensive chain built to defend Marsalforn from pirates and Ottomans, of course. The area was fortified by a shitload of batteries, redoubts, entrenchments and towers. 

Nowadays it’s just, a mound of rubble, it’s been like that since 1715. Which means it literally just survived 99 years.

12. Mġarr ix-Xini Tower

This cutie pie is another addition to the De Redin collection and is the largest coastal watchtower in Gozo. 

It has a cool drawbridge and a flight of steps instead of the trademark De Redin retractable ladder, and stands as one of the more unique towers on the archipelago.

13. Saint Lucian Tower

This polygon beauty in Marsaxlokk was built by Wignacourt and had an artillery battery added to it by the British — who still couldn’t understand the damn rules of this centuries-old competition by now. 

This is the second largest watchtower in Malta. It took part in a couple of battles among which are the Siege of Malta (no not the Great one), the Capture of Malta in 1798 and the Raid of Żejtun

Tag someone who’d love to live in their own fort!

READ NEXT: IN PHOTOS: This Naxxar Palazzo Can Win An International Building Of The Year Award


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