Open Weekend at Fort Manoel
Not knowing what to expect I was very eager to visit the Fort Manoel during its open weekend (8th & 9th April 2017). I spend a lot of time in the area of Manoel Island and Fort Manoel has always been very mysterious to me. The surrounding areas aren’t very pretty and every now and then you see some people climbing over the fence and you cannot help but wonder what´s on the other side.
And what´s the story of Fort Manoel? The first fort proposal was made in 1569. It took over 150 years for the foundation stone of Fort Manoel to be laid on 14th September 1723. The substantial star-shaped fort was completed in 1734 using the limestone of the island itself. It served as a place for isolating the afflicted by plague in 1813. In 1923 was transferred to the War Department.
In 1941 the fort was heavily bombed leaving St Anthony´s Chapel and much of the casemates destroyed.
Here you can nicely compare the original and the newly restored sides of the St. Anthony's Chapel.
In 1945 Fort Manoel becomes a Royal Naval shore establishment until 1965 when it is handed over to the Maltese Government. In 2000 MIDI (Manoel Island & Tigne Point Development) takes over and starts with the restoration works.
Now in April 2017 we can have a look inside and appreciate the great work MIDI has done so far. During the Fort Manoel open weekend you could also take advantage of guided tours, lectures and witness number of historical re-enactments.
There were also number of displays where one could see what the soldiers wore, what personal items they had, how they used to live or what weapons they used.
I cannot help but admire these fortifications. What were people able to build it those days is just impressive!
And here are some beautiful panoramic pictures of Fort Manoel.
Last but not least I was honestly surprised with the amount of space there is. I would love to play hide-and-seek in this fort! :-)
All in all it was a great visit! It took me approximately 2,5h to go all around the fort and I'm sure I still missed something!