CELEBRATIONS AT MALTA’S OLDEST COASTAL TOWER
The Wignacourt Tower is 400 years old
The San Pawl il-Bahar Local Council in collaboration with Din l-Art Helwa and the Local Festa Committee are celebrating the 400th Anniversary of the Wignacourt Tower in St. Paul’s Bay with a programme of events between the 7th and 10th February.
Wignacourt Tower was built by Grand Master Alof de Wignacourt, who personally financed its construction. Due to the great devotion that the Grand Master had for St Paul, the first stone was laid on the 10th February 1610, traditionally held to be the day the apostle was shipwrecked on the island. Wignacourt Tower is one of the seven coastal defence towers built by the Knights in the north of Malta, of which only five are still extant. It was an important stronghold protecting the coast from attacks and is the oldest surviving defence point in Malta.
Today, Din l-Art Helwa holds Wignacourt Tower in guardianship. The organisation restored it from a state of abandonment in 1975. The tower hosts a small museum of local history, including an exhibition of Maltese fortifications and several objects from the times of the Knights. The panoramic view from its roof offers a wonderful view across the bay to St Paul’s islands.
The activities planned around the commemoration will give the public an opportunity to learn more about the tower and Maltese history, while discovering Maltese traditions through various cultural activities.
7th February, 10.30 hrs – a re-enactment of a traditional Maltese wedding followed by folklore dances and songs, and a re-enactment of pageantry during the time of the Knights. A large marquee outside the tower will host several traditional exhibits, Maltese tools and old photos of the tower. Visitors can watch lace-making and taste traditional Maltese food and drinks. Children can also enjoy traditional Maltese games. Wignacourt Tower will be open for viewing to the public.
8th February, 9.00 hrs – the Local Council is organising a historical guided tour of five of the defence towers in the North of Malta: Wignacourt Tower, St Agatha’s Tower, Tabibu Tower, Qalet Marku Tower and Ta’ Ghallis Tower. Booking through the Local Council is necessary.
9th February, 18.00 hrs – Dr. Stanley Farrugia Randon, Council Member of Din l-Art Helwa and warden of the Wignacourt Tower, will give a presentation about the history of the tower at the Local Council Hall, St Paul’s Bay.
10th February, 11.00 hrs – members of the public are invited to join the commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the Wignacourt Tower which comes to a close with the re-enactment of the laying of the first stone at 11.00 hrs. Wignacourt Tower will be open to the public from 10.00 to 13.00 hrs, and from 14.00 to 16.00 hrs. Admission is free of charge.