Għajn Tuffieħa Bay is a picturesque beach that draws locals and tourists alike during the hot summer months. However, in the past, such a bay was an ideal site where the enemy could disembark its troops and invade Malta. For this reason continuous surveillance of such vulnerable areas was essential and Grand Master Jean Paul de Lascaris Castellar embarked on the project of building a number of watch towers to fulfil this purpose.
The Għajn Tuffieħa Tower was built in 1637 and consists of two rooms built on top of each other. A ½-pounder cannon was mounted on the tower’s flat roof. This small tower was garrisoned by four men.
When compared to the previously built Wignacourt towers, the Lascaris towers are much smaller. At that time the Knights did not have enough manpower to post a large number of troops at every possible landing space, thus they built smaller towers. For this reason, the roles of the towers had to change from that of a miniature fort in to simple watch towers.
Interestingly enough, the tower was not only used during the times of the Knights of St. John, but it continued to fulfil its role as a watch tower even in the Second World War. A policeman had the job of guarding the surrounding inlets from the upper room of the tower. He resided in the lower room and had to climb to the upper room by means of fixed metal rungs. Nowadays the metal rungs have been removed but the points in the wall where they were attached to can still be seen.
The Għajn Tuffieħa Tower was restored by Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna.
In this shot, one can also appreciate the World War II beach post standing quite close to the tower. These beach posts were concrete bunkers containing machine gun emplacements. The rubble wall cladding ensured that such a fortification would be very difficult to spot by the enemy troops attempting to land in this bay.
The coastal cliffs and coastal landforms (such as the Għajn Tuffieħa tombolo) embracing the sea make this area simply amazing.
Author: Simon Mifsud