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Your Guide to Malta and Gozo - Red Tower

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Red Tower  (St Agatha's Tower)

Limits of Mellieħa, c/o: Din L-Art Ħelwa; tel:21 225952; www.dinlarthelwa.org

15th September-15th June: 10.00am -4.00pm; 16th June - 14th September: 10.00am to 1.00pm - 3.00pm to 6.00pm; adults: €2.00; Children under the age of 12 - Free.

 

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St. Agatha's tower is a prominent landmark in the outskirts of Mellieħa, its disctinctive brick red colour contrasting sharply with the azure skies yet blending harmoniously with the surrounding landscape.

It was built by Grand Master Lascaris between December 1647 and November 1648. The inscription on a marble plaque above the entrance recalls April 1649 as the date when the castle received its four cannons and could henceforth serve its military functions. After many years of neglect, Din l-Art Ħelwa was instrumental in restoring the faulty tower (with apologies to John Cleese!) to its former glory between 1999 and 2001.

Perched atop a high ridge, the Tower offers excellent views of Gozo, Comino and the Lippija Tower, the Armier White Tower, the Mellieħa parish church, Ghadira Bay and the Għadira nature reserve. The star-shaped, all ecompassing entrenchment was constructed in the eighteenth century. The tower is of a square cross-section with sloping walls and a high turret at each corner. A fixed wooden bridge that affords access to the tower replaces the original drawbridge. The interior consists of two rooms with vaulted ceilings. A wooden surface covers the original stone paving, portions of which may still be seen through glass panels on the parquet. Rainwater from the roof is collected into an underground cistern, accessed through an opening covered with a stone slab in the first chamber. An alcove to the right of the main window used to contain a small chapel dedicated to St. Agatha. A stone staircase that originally led to the roof was vandalised at one point in the tower's history, so rungs were later put in place. These rungs are still visible today as one ascends a modern wooden spiral staircase.