Birzebbuga Fort San Lucian
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The fortress protecting Malta for over 400 years


St Lucian Tower in Birzebbuga is the second largest watchtower in Malta.

It is one of six Wignacourt towers built in Malta by the Knights between 1610 and 1620.

Only four survive: Wignacourt Tower in St Paul’s Bay, St Thomas Tower in Marsascala, St Mary’s Tower on Comino and St Lucian Tower.

The fort was built in stages above Marsaxlokk Bay to protect the surrounding area against invasion.

St Lucian Tower was in use in between 1610 and 1885, and witnessed an attack on Malta by the Ottoman Empire in 1614, the French invasion in 1798, and the two-year Siege of Malta which ended in 1800.

The tower was originally armed with six large bronze cannons, ammunition and other armaments.

It was decommissioned in 1885, but was used as an RAF depot from 1945 to 1964.

Nuclear weapons were reportedly stored at Fort San Lucian during the Cold War, when Vulcans based at RAF Luqa were the backbone of Britain’s airborne nuclear deterrent.

The historic fort was handed to the Government of Malta in 1964. Our archive film footage shows the fort in the early 1970s.

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