Wignacourt Tower


Wignacourt Tower

Locality: San Pawl il-Ba─žar
Coordinates: 35.94975,14.40299

This Tower was built in 1610 by Grand Master Alof de Wignacourt and is the oldest surviving coastal defence post in Malta.

This Tower was the first of a number of coastal defence towers built round Malta. It was built at the expense of Grand Master Alof de Wignacourt in1610 and designed by the Maltese architect Vittorio Cassar. The original main first floor entrance was approached over a drawbridge from a flight of stone steps. These steps were unfortunately removed in the 1950s to widen the road running in front of the Tower. The ground floor entrance is a later addition.

From 1610-49, Wignacourt Tower was Malta's northernmost defensive outpost until St Agatha's Tower (the Red Tower) was built in Mellieha. In 1715 a coastal battery was added to increase its firepower. During the eighteenth century, the Tower was equipped with two 6-pounder and three 18-pounder cannon and in the following century it was used as a police station and telegraph post.

The Tower was leased to Din l-Art Helwa in 1970, and and restored under the direction of architect Ray Vassallo, a member of Din l-Art Helwa, between 1973-76. In 1998 an exhibition of models of fortifications around Malta, set up by Dr Stephen Spiteri, was opened.

Source: Din L-Art Helwa