Commencement of Works - Xghajra Tower. October 2008
Built by Grand Master de Redin in 1658 a one of a chain of towers along the Maltese
coastline, this structure is the last of its kind to survive in the area. Known originally
as Torri Mwiegel, it consists of two chambers; a lower one for ammunition storage
and an upper one used as living quarters for the garrison. The roof level, reached
via a spiral staircase served both as a firing platform and observation post. A small
room provided the sentinel with shelter. Originally each tower had a lofty flagpole
upon which was hoisted a red flag in case enemy vessels were spotted approaching.
In this way all towers reacted similarly until the signal reached Valletta.
Little is known about the Triq il-Wiesgha tower in the century and a half that followed
however, like many of its counterparts; it appears to have been abandoned. In the
1930s it was decided to fully restore the building which by then had become a crumbling
ruin. The tower however soon succumbed to the elements, particularly the raging easterly
seas and part of its foundations collapsed leaving it in a precarious state. This,
coupled with war damage and vandalism left the structure in a pitiful state by the
time it was given in trust to Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna (Malta Heritage Trust) in 2004.
Restoration commenced following the mounting of scaffolding on two of the outer elevations
and deteriorated stone elements were replaced. Raking out and pointing on these facades
has also begun. This includes the removal of the extremely tough existing cementitious
pointing. Similar works in the tower’s upper chamber have also started. Replication
of the missing steps of the spiral staircase is also underway.