Wignacourt Tower

Saint Paul's Bay, Malta

Wignacourt Tower is a bastioned watchtower in St. Paul's Bay, Malta. It was the first of six Wignacourt towers to be built, and it was completed in 1610. An artillery battery was added a century later in 1715. Today the tower is a museum.

By the end of the 16th century, Malta's harbour area was extensively fortified. However, the rest of the islands was virtually undefended, and the coastline was open to attacks by Ottomans or Barbary corsairs. This began to change in the early 17th century, when Martin Garzez, Grand Master of the Order of Saint John, allocated funds for the building of Garzes Tower on Gozo. Garzes' successor, Alof de Wignacourt, set out to build a series of towers around the coastline, which were personally funded by him and came to be known as the Wignacourt towers.

The tower was the only major fortification in the north of Malta until the construction of Saint Agatha's Tower in 1649. It had Qawra Tower (built 1638), Buġibba Battery (built 1715) and Mistra Battery (built 1761) in its line of sight.

A coastal battery was added to the tower in 1715 to house two 18-pounder guns. Buttressing was added to the lower half of the structure in around 1761.

After Malta fell under British rule, the tower began to be used as a police station. A postal agency was located within the police station between 1891 and 1921, and during this period a postmark reading 'St. Paul's Bay' was used. The police station closed in 1931, and from 1937 to 1963 the tower was occupied by the Post and Telephone Department.

The tower's original entrance was on the first floor, and it was approached by a drawbridge from a flight of stone steps. The steps were removed in the 1950s when the road in front of the tower was widened. An entrance was added on the ground floor.



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Founded: 1610
Category: Castles and fortifications in Malta

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4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

l s (15 months ago)
Very interesting visit. Rich in history, Wignacourt Tower is the oldest surviving Tower, that still has its original door, lock and key. A restored firing cannon is also present on the roof. On the first floor you can see the 'luxuries' for the men on guard, namely the well with fresh drinking water, the toilet, the fire stove, the bed... Amazing view from the top of the Tower. The museum curator has a lot of interesting facts to share and is very passionate about the subject, very helpful and welcoming.
Arthur Ebejer (16 months ago)
We went as a family of ten, 6 adults 4 chd. We all chose something different from the menu. Sword fish, pork loin, steak, pasta dishes and pizza and every dish was perfectly cooked and perfectly seasoned, all at a very reasonable price. The Wignacourt has the most perfect courtyard setting to dine alfresco, with a lovely bottle of wine and liqueurs after dinner. I highly recommend this venue.
albert cauchi (18 months ago)
Worth a visit, an old historical coastal tower built by Knight Wignacourt
Lisa S (23 months ago)
It was shut due to a bank holiday but still interesting to walk around.
Oksana Le Brun (2 years ago)
Great Tower with a great history. Only 2 Eur to get to the roof and enjoy the view of the bay. Exists due to an enthusiasm of volunteers. This is the oldest of a chain of towers which are an jnduspensable part of Maltese coastline and history.
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