Photographer's Note

Wind-storm at the Ricasoli fortress, Kalkara

Fort Ricasoli is a large fortification on the island of Malta. The fort was built by the Knights of Malta between 1670 and 1693. It occupies the promontory known as Gallows Point that forms the eastern arm of Grand Harbour, and the north shore of Rinella Creek. Together with Fort St. Elmo and Fort Tigné it commands the approaches to Grand Harbour and Marsamxett Harbour.


It was designed by the Italian military engineer Antonio Maurizio Valperga, as part of Grand Master Nicholas Cottoner's extensive fortifications around Grand Harbour. It is named for the knight who financed a large part of the works, Fra Giovanni Francesco Ricasoli.
The Fort continued to be an active military installation throughout the British period.
It was the scene of a mutiny in 1807 when Sicilian soldiers of the Froberg Regiment revolted and shut themselves up in Fort Ricasoli. Despite attempts at negotiation they eventually blew up the powder magazine. The mutiny was quashed by loyal troops, and 30 mutineers were condemned to death by court martial.
Fort Ricasoli was active in the defence of Malta during the second world war. Structural alterations and additional gun emplacements on the seaward bastion bear witness to its continued use and evolution as a military installation.
The fort has suffered significant damage from enemy action in the siege of Malta during World War II, when much of the internal structure was badly damaged. The gate has been rebuilt, but the internal buildings including the Governor's House have been lost.

Present day

Today the fort faces a much bigger threat from the relentless onslaught of the sea. The fort is threatened by erosion from seaward, where a fault in the headland on which it stands is being eroded by the sea.
During the tenure of the British military, the bastion was substantially repaired, with the outer surface being cut back and new stone facing applied. This too is now eroding badly and in 2004 a section 100 metres long by 13 metres high was removed, restored and re-attached. Parts of the fort are still viewed as being in a dangerous condition.

Movie sets

The fort and its environs have been used extensively for film sets, and in recent years have appeared several times as 'Ancient Rome' and also as 'Troy' in the films Gladiator and Troy respectively.


Kalkara is an unofficial fourth member of the so-called Three Cities, nestling inside the creek on the eastern side of Birgu. Although excluded from the Cottonera group of cities (Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua), it shares the same historical and economic background, a dependence on all things maritime and an important role in wartime. Kalkara has its own strongholds. Nearby Fort Ricasoli, a massive fortress at the entrance to Grand Harbour, was built in 1670. The smaller Fort Rinella is a late 19th century British addition to the harbour's fortifications. The area between the forts houses the Mediterranean Film Studios. At the head of Bighi Peninsula is the old British Royal Naval Hospital, used today as a school for restoration studies. Kalkara Creek is also known as 'English Creek', a link which dates back to the time of King Henry VIII. Kalkara itself retains the air of a sleepy, picturesque fishing harbour. Behind the small boat yard at heart of the creek, is an entrance to the Great Ditch in the Three Cities' fortifications. From here, a path winds through an olive grove up to Vittoriosa.(Source: visitmalta & wikipedia)

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Additional Photos by George Rumpler (Budapestman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 8900 W: 3 N: 20435] (82620)
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