Before Valletta there was the star fort of St. Elmo. It formed part of a dual defence of the Grand Harbour with its twin across the waters, the Fort St. Angelo. The Ottoman Turks captured the fort during their siege, and pounded the Malese capital across the harbour in Birgu. So immediately after the siege was broken the Knights built a new capital city around the fort.
Today it is used to train Malta's police, and because of that it is normally not possible to visit it.
On most Sundays there is a re enactment of the inspection of the troups called 'Il Guardia'. It starts at 11 but be sure to be early to get the best seats. We arrived at 10:30 and the best seats were already taken. Ok it's fake but I found it great fun!
Fort St. Elmo is an imposing fort in La Valletta that can best be seen from the sea or from neighbouring Siema. It was built by the knights after the Dragut Raid of 1551 and only fourteen years later this construction was to pass the test. During the Great Siege of 1565 the Turks thought they would take this fort first, and in a week – it turned out that it took them 1 month instead.
Today the fort houses the Police Academy (obviously not open to the public) and within the fortifications. the National War Museum, focusing mainly on WWII . The entrance is near to Marsamxett harbor.
Fort St Elmo has been a [part of Malta's history since before the arrival of the nights when just a watch tower stood on the site, The knights built the fortress in 1533 and by the time of the Ottoman Siege of Malta in 1565, this fortification had been reinforced and extended into a modest star fort
Fort Saint Elmo was the scene of some of the most intense fighting of the siege, and withstood massive bombardment from Turkish cannons whith had been deployed on Mount Sciberras (were Valletta is now) that overlooked the fort and from batteries on the north arm of Marsamextt Harbour (present site of Fort Tigne.)
The initial garrison of the fort during the siege was around one hundred knights and seven hundred soldiers, including around four hundred Italian troops. The garrison could be reinforced by boat from the forts across Grand Harbour.
The fort withstood the siege for over a month, falling to the Turks on 23 June 1565. None of the defending knights survived, and only nine of the Maltese defenders survived by swimming across to Fort St. Angelo on the other side of the Grand Harbour after the fort fell.
Though the fort was reduced to rubble during the bombardments, when the Ottomans abandoned the siege the fort was rebuilt and reinforced, becoming partially incorporated into the seaward bastion of the new fortress city of Valletta.
Since the mid-20th century, Fort Saint Elmo has housed Malta's police academy and is closed to the public except on certain days ( the odd sunday per month) were there are reenactments and processions of the Knights.
I have the dates for this year (2009) and will put them on later but if i have not done it then just ask
Fort Saint Elmo is a fortification in Valletta, Malta. It stands on the seaward shore of the Sciberras Peninsula that divides Marsamxett Harbour from Grand Harbour, and commands the entrances to both harbours.
Prior to the arrival of the Knights of Malta in 1530, a watchtower existed on this point. Reinforcement of this strategic site commenced in 1533. By the time of the Ottoman Siege of Malta in 1565, this fortification had been reinforced and extended into a modest star fort.
Since the mid-20th century, Fort Saint Elmo has housed Malta's police academy. The original George Cross that was awarded to Malta by King George VI in April 1942, is on display in the War Museum, which occupies part of the Fort.
This star-shaped fort was one of the first forts built by the Knights when they arrived in Malta. The fort was completely destroyed during the Great Siege of 1565, when it was captured by the Turks after a siege lasting 29 days. It was then rebuilt in 1567.
Just along from Sacra Infermeria is the massive sturcture of Fort St Elmo. This occupies the whole tip of the promentory and encompasses the National War Museum (seperate entry) and the Fort St Elmo Museum.
Because the fort is also used these days as the national police academy, entrance is limited to weekends (but we didn't go in, even though it was Sunday) and costs a mere 1LM. Once inside, you can also take a guided tour for free! It all seems quite a bargain.
Just for those history fans, the fort was built in 1552 in only 6 months - quite incredible really - and was incorporated into Valletta in 1570.
The National Tourist office of Malta organises a programme of military drills in colorful period costume dating back to the time of the islands' occupation by the Knights of St John. The parade is performed in the fort's courtyard where re-enactments of various drills and the changing of guard will be seen in the tradition of the Knights.
Check www.visitmalta.com for the day & the time of the show.
This fort was established before the Knights Templar arrived. The knights strengthened and enlarged it. The fort played an important part in the defence of the island against the Turks. Today the National War Museum is in the fort.
This is part of the great wall of Fort St. Elmo. Built about 500 years ago by the knights. There is also war museum as part of it.
Today it houses the Malta Police Academy and it can be visited in guided tours only at the weekends.