Selmun Palace was built by the Monte di Redenzione degli Schiavi, a charity that was founded during the reign of Grand Master Alof de Wignacourt in 1607 to finance the redemption of Christians enslaved by Ottomans or Barbary corsairs. The land on which the palace was built was originally a coastal lookout post, and was donated to the Monte di Redenzione by Caterina Vitale in 1619. The palace used to be rented out to knights of the Order of Saint John as a place to relax and hunt wild rabbits, which were commonly found in the area. The rent money contributed to the redemption fund.
The palace itself was built the sometime in the 18th century, although the exact date of construction is not known. The earliest record of the structure is on a 1783 map, when it was referred to as Torre Nuova (new tower). The palace's architect is unknown, but it is sometimes attributed to Domenico Cachia.
Selmun Palace is an example of Baroque architecture. It has a square plan with four pseudo-bastions on each side, the design of which was inspired by the Verdala Palace and the Wignacourt towers. These bastions as well as fake embrasures were mainly built for aesthetic purposes, and the structure was never intended for military use. Despite this, it served as a deterrent for corsairs looking for a potential landing spot, since it looked like a military outpost when viewed from the sea. The main facade has three doors, with the main one being surrounded by a decorative portal. An ornate window on the upper floor and a bell-cot on the roof surmount the main door. A balcony surrounds the perimeter of the entire building.
A chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Ransom was located within the palace. In the 1980s, a new chapel with the same dedication was built outside the palace.References:
The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.
The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick.