Secrets of Gozo

Xlendi Tower

Xlendi Tower

The Xlendi Tower guarding the mouth of the bay was built by the Grandmaster Juan de Lascaris-Castellar on 29 June 1650. This was built so pirates or Turks could not launch attacks from this bay. This tower is still standing. It has, until recently, been abandoned with substantial damage caused to the outer walls of the tower. Responsibility for the tower was passed to the Local Council and Din l-Art Ħelwa in 2010. It is anticipated that restoration work will be commenced during 2011. The Tower was quite important for the British Army in Malta as it was the only tower in the southwest of the island. It was entitled Tower B (secondly in place) to show its importance.

Protecting the Bay

The Xlendi Tower’s main purpose was to defend illegal entry on Gozo by pirates, smugglers as well as to quarantine evaders from ships arriving from countries with a high rate of disease. Since Gozo’s fortified city Victoria, is inland, and therefore not close to the sea, it was unable to attack any fleet before it lands.

Gozo was constantly being attacked by the ottoman and many Gozitans ended up as slaves. The largest attach in 1551 resulted in 6000 Gozitans to be taken as slaves and the Castello in Gozo being destroyed.

As a result, three towers were built to protect Gozo, The Garzes tower was constructed in Mgarr in 1605 to protect the Mgarr Harbour. In 1616 another tower was built in Marsalforn on the Qortin tax-Xaghra plateau. The Xlendi tower was the third to be built, in the year 1650 after the Baliff Baldassare de Demandolx proposed its construction.
Similar to the Lascaris tower found around Malta, the Xlendi Tower is rectangular in shape and is 10 meters squared. Unlike the Lascaris towers found in Malta, it has an additional unique platform sloping towards the side facing the sea. Entrance to the tower is from the second floor which is connected to Xlendi via an external staircase.

Grandmaster Lascaris ordered 6-pounds iron guns (kanuni), and 4-pounder guns respectively to be mounted on its flat roof. The tower was under the command of a Capomastro, a bombardier, and his assistant along with another 3 set of hands during the night.

It was built during the reign of Grand Master Lascaris in 1650 and continued to serve as guardian of the bay until as late as 1871. The Università of Gozo paid for both the construction and manning of this tower.
Only 31 years after it was constructed, it was described to be in a bad state and needed restoration.

 

Xlendi Tower Post World War 1

During the Second World War, the tower was used as a Coast Observation Post and was manned by the Coast Police.
When airplanes started being used, the fortifications around our islands became useless.
The tower is currently being restored jointly between Din l-Art Helwa (sponsored by MedServ) and the Munxar Local Council on a 50/50 basis.



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