Restoration of Fort Tigné
Work on the renovation of Fort Tigné is now approaching completion.
The project foresees the revitalisation of this unique 18th century edifice in order to house a number of cultural and commercial activities, as well as to restore and maximise accessibility to what was, until recently, an abandoned and derelict ruin.
Fort Tigné was originally built in 1792 to the design of the Order of St John’s chief engineer, Stefano de Toussard. The need to strengthen this particular promontory against possible attacks from sea and land had long been understood by the Knights, who in 1565 had seen Fort St Elmo capitulate to Dragut’s cannons, strategically placed at the site where Fort Tigné stands today.
Although the widely anticipated second Turkish invasion of Malta never materialised, Fort Tigné did witness limited military action in its 200-year history. It proved to be among the only one of the Knights’ many redoubts and fortifications to attempt some kind of resistance against Napoleon’s forces in 1798; ironically, it was also one of the first strongholds to fall to the local partisan militia during the subsequent insurrection. Garrisoned by British forces from 1805 until their departure in 1979, the fort was consistently armed, refitted and altered to maintain its function as a machine of war.
Despite enjoying unparalleled views of Valletta and Marsamxett harbour, Fort Tigné was never exploited for its limitless tourism potential. Today, after 30 years of neglect, only the tower, counterscarp and ditch remain visible.
The declared philosophy behind the revitalisation of Fort Tigné by MIDI plc is to create an attractive urban space aimed at re-utilising the fort in its new peace-time context, while at the same time paying homage to the various eras of military history – the Great Siege, the French occupation, and two world wars – that have consolidated its identity as part of Malta’s historic heritage.
Proposals for the use of the building itself include catering facilities, a military museum, exhibition space and art galleries. All these different concepts have entailed a thorough restoration of the existing structures, complete with the repair and reintegration of the 20th century gun emplacements, as well as the creation of additional landscaped gardens, walkways and other public amenities.