The Design and Construction of Fort Manoel: 1715-1735

Public Lecture, 18th December.

Once the ramparts of Valletta began to take shape, the Knights of St. John quickly began to appreciate the difficulties and challenges posed by the task of securing their new city against bombardment and assault from the direction of Marsamxett. Already by 1569, various concerns were being raised about the serious threats posed by the Isolotto, that little island jutting out into the middle of the harbour – its vicinity to the walls of Valletta made it the ideal position from where Turkish batteries, in the event of a siege, could bombard the city's fortifications and its houses with relative ease. Over the following decades, various military engineers were set the task of drawing up a workable defensive scheme which would remedy this worrying situation by fortifying the Isolotto with a new fort. None of their plans, however, would progress beyond the drawing board until well into the eighteenth century when the task eventually fell on the shoulders of a team of French military engineers, and their project finally began to materialize in the shape of Fort Manoel in 1723.

Fort Manoel would prove to be one of the two last major works of fortification built to the conventions of the bastioned trace in the Maltese islands by the Order of St John. It was also the most striking and beautifully-proportioned bastioned fortress erected by the Hospitaller knights, complete with all the refined adjuncts of defence that eighteenth-century military engineering could hope to devise.

This talk by Dr. Stephen C. Spiteri Ph.D. looks at the design thought-process behind the development of the plan and features of Fort Manoel in the years 1715-1723, as well as the manner in which this work of fortification, later described as a model of Baroque military architecture, was constructed in the years 1723-1735.


Lecture title: The Design and Construction of Fort Manoel: 1715-1735

Speaker: Dr. Stephen C. Spiteri Ph.D.

Venue: Lecture Hall, Fortifications Interpretation Centre, St. Mark Street, Valletta.

Date: Thursday 18 December 2014

Time: 5.30 -7.00pm


The lecture will be delivered in English.


Attendance by registration at   This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it




Latest Articles








~ Additional Features ~