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Your Guide to Malta and Gozo - Lascaris War Rooms

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Lascaris War Rooms

Lascaris Ditch,Valletta; tel: +356 21234717; http://www.wirtartna.org

 

Open Daily, from 10:00am to 5:00pm; Closed on New Year's Day, Good Friday, Easter & Christmas DayRegular Ticket:  €10; Subsidised ticket (Senior citizens and students): €8; Under 16's: €5; Family ticket (2 Adults + 3 children): €25

 

Tucked away in the rocky sub-terrain beneath the bastions of Valletta, the Lascaris War Rooms may be easily overlooked by the casual visitor to the city. 

Visitor – enter this location with reverence; behold in awe! It was here that the course of Mankind's history was forever altered. Operation Husky! It was here that the liberation of Sicily from the evils of the Axis forces took root and paved the way for the redemption of the European continent.

Despite its minuscule size, Malta's position between the African and the European continents is trategic; as General Erwin Rommel succinctly stated: "Without Malta the Axis will end by losing control of North Africa". The Axis forces were intent on crippling the island's defence capacity by cutting off access to essential supplies and incessant aerial attacks. Indeed Malta was amongst the most heavily bombarded locations in the world during the war years. In April 1942, Malta was showered with 6700 tonnes of bombs, yet did not surrender to the enemy.

The Lascaris Rooms are so called due to their proximity to Fort Lascaris, built by the British governorship in 1856. Their construction was necessary since the facilities inside St. John's Cavalier were no longer sufficient to meet the demands of Malta's stepped-up response to aerial aggression. Rooms were hewn out of rock inside a pre-existing network of tunnels to give a complex from which military operations against enemy aircraft could be launched. These war rooms became operational in 1943.

Information regarding impeding enemy air-attacks intercepted by the four radar systems around the island used to be relayed to the filter room and plotted onto a grid. The plots would provide a sound basis on which the fighter controller in the Fighter Control Room would select the defence strategy.

This complex would not cease to function in the post-war period as Lascaris would be used by NATO for its operations in the South Mediterranean until the early 1970's.

The rehabilitation of the War Rooms was entrusted to Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna in 2009. Visitors will be treated to a tour by guides who are quite evidently passionate about their work. There is also an audio-visual presentation about the Santa Marija convoy that reached Maltese shores on August 15th 1942 bringing urgently needed supplies to the islands.

 

Lascis war roomsCrucial strategic planning of Operation Husky was performed here - to liberate Sicily from the clutches of the Axis in World War II