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.References:
Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.
Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.
A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.
The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.
The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.
In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.
In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.