While crossing to Malta or Gozo by ferry or boat, one cannot but admire the imposing watchtower overlooking the channels.
Standing tall close to the cliff’s edge, St Mary’s Tower – more commonly known as Comino Tower – has been guarding the islands for 400 years. It was one of six towers built by Grandmaster Alof de Wignacourt in the 17th century to serve as a defence and communication link between the Citadel in Gozo and Mdina.
At the time, corsairs often raided the coasts. However, there are no accounts that the bastioned tower was involved in fierce battles or attacks, says Din l-Art Ħelwa volunteer and tower warden Joseph Attard.
Over the years, the site had different functions, including that of a prison, an isolation hospital, a wintering pen for farm animals and even served as a film set. Nowadays, it is perhaps Comino’s most popular attraction, after the Blue Lagoon.
The tower is a large, square structure with four turrets, located 80 metres above sea level. It is 12 metres tall and stands on a plinth some eight metres high.
According to Mr Attard, one of the most interesting features of the tower is that it has very thick walls, about six metres deep, making it look…