Guided tours of upper Fort St Angelo now running also on Sundays*

The upper part of Fort St Angelo managed by the Knights of St John (Sovereign Military Order of Malta – SMOM) will be more accessible to visitors during August and September since the special daily guided tour of this part of the fort will be held also on Sundays.

Sitting atop the highest point of the promontory, the upper part of Fort St Angelo is definitely one of the oldest in the fort’s extensive timeline. It includes the Keep, the most defendable section of the fort, intended to be the place of last resort during the Middle Ages, when the stronghold was known as the Castrum Maris. In this secluded quarter stands the Castellan’s House, its name derived from the tenant who occupied it until 1530; a person of trust appointed by the King in Sicily to oversee interests in Malta.

This edifice continued to serve as the lodging of whoever commanded Fort St Angelo – the Grand Master’s residence (Magistral Palace) between 1530 and 1558 when it was subsequently enlarged, the Governor’s residence until 1798 and the accommodation of the Commander and later the Captain’s House during the British period. Close by stands the Chapel of St Anne, originally dedicated to St Mary by 1274. Upon the arrival of the Order of St John, this chapel was chosen as the private chapel of the Grand Master, rededicated to the Epiphany, enlarged and a crypt added, where the first four Grand Masters of Malta were buried. By the early seventeenth century it was rededicated again, this time to St Anne. During the British period it was used as an artillery store and subsequently a chapel.

A notable structure within the Keep is the nymphaeum, added by Grand Master L’Isle Adam. It is a unique construction, intended to provide a shaded area all year round. Also of notable importance are two gun batteries added in 1690 by the military engineer Carlos Grunenbergh. Together with another two, these were intended to protect the entrance of the Grand Harbour against any invading enemy vessels. These batteries remained armoured until the late nineteenth century.

Standing at the tip is a signalling room, which by the early twentieth century was equipped with a ship mast, from where signals were hoisted up to conduct ship manoeuvring in the harbour and also provide weather reports. The ship mast is the last of its kind in the Maltese islands.

This part of the fort was leased to the SMOM in 1998, and subsequently restored. This area was made accessible to the general public a few months ago following an agreement with Heritage Malta. Access is restricted to an exclusive daily guided tour capped at 30 participants. These visits are available from Monday to Friday at 11.00hrs.

However, for the months of August (6th, 13th, 20th, 27th) and September (3rd, 10th) these visits will be held also on Sundays at 11.00hrs. The limited number of tickets available is assigned on a first come first served basis and costs €5 for adults, €3 for students and seniors, and €1.50 for children between 5 and 11 years.

For the month of August visitors wanting to visit the upper part of Fort St Angelo can also benefit from a €1 discount if they acquire the Birgu combo ticket. The Birgu combo ticket includes all Heritage Malta’s attractions in Birgu, namely, Fort St Angelo, the Malta Maritime Museum and the Inquisitor’s Palace. With this ticket visitors can discover the history of Birgu and get more value for their money as opposed to buying single site tickets.  This combo ticket can be acquired at €13 adults, €9 seniors/youths and €7 children under 12 years.

Fort St Angelo was lately restored and the €14.5 million restoration project was inaugurated in 2015. Dominating the tip of Vittoriosa, this fort has always been of great importance because of its strategic position. Fort St Angelo promises a genuinely enticing and memorable experience.

The fort comprises d’Homedes Bastion, The Egmont Hall, Ferramolino’s Cavalier, Officers’ Lounge and terraces, Grunenbergh’s Bastion, Admiral’s Hall and the Parade Ground. It includes an interpretation centre presenting information about the fort and its history through three complementing immersive experiences and accompanying displays, namely the Centre of the Mediterranean (overview of the use of the Maltese islands by foreign powers), Key to Malta (a highlight of the advantage offered by the site of the fort for the control of the Grand Harbour) and National Icon (a tribute to the leading act played by the fort for centuries on end).

 

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