Santa Marija Tower Comino
Military Guardian Of The Gozo Channel
When the Order of St John had completed the fortifications of Valletta, it began to strenghten its coastal defences by building a network of towers in strategic command locations to facilitate defence and communication. The Santa Marija Tower formed part of this network and was a key defence post between the Cittadella in Gozo and Mdina in Malta. the decision to build this Tower was taken by Grand master Alof de Wignacourt in 1618. Its construction was financed by the Grand master himself, and by the sale of the
brushwood on the island and from the profits made by the resettled farmers. The imposing site chosen was some eighty metres above sea level.
Square in plan with four corner turrets, it stands twelve metres high and sits on a plinth some eight metres high. A three-metres wide strip was laid along the plinth to enable the defenders to move easily to any endangered point. The walls of the Tower are some six metres thick and the fout turrets are extended
perpendiculary and crowned with a battlement top. By 1722 it was armed with three bronze cannon and two iron guns.
The Tower is surrounded by a high rubble wall of loose stiones which gives the impression that th Tower is surrounded by a ditch. During the British period the Tower was important for the protection of the anchorage and communications between Gozo and Malta, together with Fort St Agatha (The Red Tower)
in Mellieha and Fort Chambray in Gozo. During this period the interior of the Tower was significasntly changed, and it seems, likely tha it was used as an isolation hospital at some point, while the lower chamber was converted stable. The tower knew notoriety as the infamous Chateau d'If in the 2002 film ' The Count of Monte Cristo'
Santa Marija Tower has been exposed to the elements for many years and its stone had greatly deteriorated
The roof waterproofing was badly cracked, vegetation had taken root in the crevices further dislodging stone blocks. Vandalism taken its toll and there was an almost complete absence of the parapet wall on the roof and turrets. A great number of large stone blocks had been taken from the plinth for other uses. Din L-l-Art Helwa commenced the challenging restoration of the Tower in 2002 and completed it in 2005.
The project was sponsored by the Malta maritime Authority and the Vodafone Malta Foundation with
support from The Gozo Channel Co Ltd and The Comino Hotel.
The Tower is opened by Din l-Art Helwa volunteers from April to October on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10.30 am to 3.00 pm, or when the Flag is flying. it is normally open on public holidays.
Bookings may be made for visits by schools and other groups, as well for private functions. For more information call the Din l-l-Art Helwa Gozo and Comino Coodinator
The tropicana Hotel is located right in the heart of Malta's most vibrant location, St Julians. The hotel offers you a comfortable stay at great value for money. At the Two Star Tropicana, you are surrounded by Malta's prime attractions, being just a walk away from shopping malls, beaches, restaurants and clubs.
All of the rooms at the hotel are equipped with air conditioning, cable television, frigo bar, telephne service and their own bathroom. Reception is open 24 hours a day and our friendly multilingual staff are always happy to help. All stay packages include breakfast.
Choose from four different room types:
- Budget single room
- Budget twin room
- Standard twin rooms - all equipped with balconies giving views of the beautiful Piazza Cascata.
- Standard triple rooms - all equipped with balconies offering town views
- Standard quadruple rooms - all equipped with balconies offering town views.
Free WIFI is available in the foyer for all guests of the hotel. An internet cafe and international telephony
system ae also available at an extra charge in the lobby.
Din L- Art Helwa, Malta's National Trust, was founded in 1965 with the prime objective of safeguarding Malta's cultural heritage and natural environment. it is a non-profit, voluntary organisation which has saved numerous heritage sites through restoration and holds 15 in trust or in guardianship since its foundation. These include medieval and baroque churches, fortifications built by the Order of St. John, two Protestant
cemeteries and their historic gardens, and the British Period Lighthouse at Delimara. You can view these on
The key aims of Din L-Art Helwa (This Fair Land) are:
- To promote the preservation and protection of historic buildings and monuments, and of the character of
our towns and villages, especially in relation to problems arising from modern urban development.
- To preserve and protect places of natural beauty and the animal and plant life of such places.
- To stimulate the enforcement of laws and the enactment of new ones to protect our environment and built
- To hold property in trust or in guardianship for its conservation and public enjoyment and for the benefit
of the Nation.
Din L- Art Helwa
133, Melita Street,
Valletta VLT 1123