Malta Saluting Battery - History and Facts | History Hit

Malta Saluting Battery

Valletta, Malta, Malta

The Malta Saluting Battery dates back 500 years and is one of the oldest of its kind to still be operated.

Antara Bate

24 Nov 2020
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Malta Saluting Battery

The Malta Saluting Battery – known locally as just the Saluting Battery – dates back 500 years and is one of the oldest of its kind to still be operated. In addition to providing the vibrant spectacle of the gun firing for visitors, the Malta Saluting Battery is also a great place for views of the harbour which it has historically protected. The gun is fired daily at noon and 4pm.

Malta Saluting Battery history

The saluting battery is located high along Valletta’s eastern historic ramparts and has spectacular views of the Grand Harbour and its surrounding fortified towns. Likely one of the oldest saluting battery still in operation in the world, it was built along with the city itself in 1566 by the Order of St. John on the design of the military engineer Franceso Laparelli.

The building of Valletta followed the end of the Great Siege of 1565. During that conflict, the full length of the Valletta promontory was easily overrun by the Ottomans who built several powerful siege batteries to keep the Knights of St. John and the Maltese contained within Fort St. Angelo and the walled towns of Vittoriosa and Senglea.

The battery’s time service dates back to 1824, when a similar service was the Royal Navy at Portsmouth. This indicated the exact hour at mid-day so that ship-masters could calibrate their ship clocks.

The noon-day gun service in Malta was provided from one of the guns at the Saluting Battery and went on, uninterrupted until November 1923 when its place was taken by the telegraphic signal sent out from the Greenwich Observatory.

Throughout its long period of use, the Saluting Battery saw the full range of the principal artillery types that chart the historic evolution of artillery.

The battery was a key part of both World War One and World War Two in Malta and sustained serious damage during the Blitz. The battery was shut down in 1954 following 398 of uninterrupted service. It lay derelict for many years until the property was surrender to the civil government in 1965 which meant that the battery could be turned into a garden.

The battery was restored in 2004 and in 2011 new working cannon replicas were installed.

Malta Saluting Battery today

Today, the Saluting Battery is one of Malta’s most vibrant visitor attractions and sees hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. There are guided tours available in multiple languages and Noon-day gun firings still occur.

Getting to Malta Saluting Battery

Follow the directional signs leading to the Saluting Battery starting from the main entrance into Valletta. These will take you along South Street onto Castille Place past the Auberge de Castille and to the Upper Barracca Gardens. The battery can be entered from both the Gardens and Battery Street adjacent to it.

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