A fortification at the sea, a national war museum, but most important: a place where important Maltese history has happened. The Fort St. Elmo sits at the end of the headland on which Valletta was built, between the entrance to the Grand Harbour and the Marsamxett Harbour. The fortification was built by the Knights Hospitaller but the location wasn’t perfect: when the Osmans attacked in 1565 they could enter the northern harbor and they attacked St. Elmo from the opposite side of the bay as well as from the higher areas of the headland.
St. Elmo fell, but the Osman attack could be stopped. And that was the point in time when the decision was taken to create the city Valletta next to St. Elmo. Now, foreign troops couldn’t place their cannons there anymore and fire down to the fort. When Malta became a British colony and especially during the World Wars the fort St. Elmo was used by British forces. Still today you can see their massive guns and additional protective buildings made of concrete. The national war museum is located inside the different buildings of the fort, and you will be guided through them all to learn more about Maltese history and military struggles.
National War Museum
Fort St. Elmo / Forti Sant Iermu