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Fort Madalena

Fort Madalena
Il-Fortizza tal-Madliena
Part of the Victoria Lines
Madliena, Swieqi, Malta
Malta - Swieqi - Triq il-Madliena - Fort Madliena 08 ies.jpg
Entrance to Fort Madliena
Coordinates35°55′51.53″N 14°27′42.5″E / 35.9309806°N 14.461806°E / 35.9309806; 14.461806
TypePolygonal fort and artillery battery
Site information
OwnerGovernment of Malta
Controlled byArmed Forces of Malta
St John Rescue Corps
Open to
the public
Site history
Built byBritish Empire
In use1880–present
MaterialsLimestone and Concrete
Battles/warsWorld War II

Fort Madalena, also known as Fort Madliena (Maltese: Il-Fortizza tal-Madliena), is a polygonal fort in Madliena, limits of Swieqi, Malta. It was built between 1878 and 1880 by the British as part of the Victoria Lines. The fort now falls under the responsibility of the Armed Forces of Malta and is used by the St John Rescue Corps.


Fort Madalena was built by the British as part of the Victoria Lines, a line of fortifications along the northern part of Malta, dividing it from the more heavily populated south. It is one of three forts built along the lines, the other two being Fort Binġemma and Fort Mosta.

Fort Madalena, which is located at the eastern extremity of the line, was second of the forts to be built. It was built on the site of a fifteenth century chapel dedicated to Mary Magdalene, which gave the fort its name. Construction of the pentagonal fort began in 1878 and was completed in 1880, at a total cost of £9400. The fort itself is quite small, with the short sides of the pentagon being about 30 metres long. The entire fort is surrounded by a 6-metre deep and 4-metre wide ditch. It was armed with a single RML 11-inch gun, four 64-pounders, two 40-pounders and two field guns.[1] Later on, an artillery battery was built around the pentagonal fort, facing the sea for coastal defence. The battery was armed with two BL 9.2-inch guns.[2]

In 1906, the RML 11-inch guns were replaced by BL 9.2-inch Mk X guns which had an effective range of about 8000 yards. Although the Victoria Lines were abandoned in 1907, Fort Madalena, along with Fort Binġemma, remained in use for coastal defence. Its guns were removed during the interwar period, and it was later used by the Royal Air Force as a communications post, and then as a radar station during World War II. The radar station remained in use by NATO until British forces left Malta in 1979 and the fort was handed to the Armed Forces of Malta.[3]

Present day

Fort Madalena is still owned by the government and it falls under the responsibility of the 4th Regiment of the Armed Forces of Malta. A VTMIS radar was installed in 2006.[4] The fort is leased to the St John Rescue Corps, a volunteer civil defence organization, and is used as their headquarters and training school.[5]

The fort is in good condition although some parts are in need of restoration.[6] It is open to the public on Saturday afternoons, or by appointment throughout the week.[7]

A wall near the fort's entrance partially collapsed during heavy rains in April 2019, and it began to be restored in June 2019.[8][9]


  1. ^ Castillo, Dennis Angelo (2006). The Maltese Cross: A Strategic History of Malta. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 135. ISBN 0313323291.
  2. ^ "Headquarters". St John Rescue Corps. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  3. ^ "FAA tour of Fort Madalena". Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  4. ^ "Coastal VTMIS of Malta delivery anticipated ahead of schedule". 27 June 2006. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  5. ^ "St John Rescue Corps receives German equipment". Times of Malta. 11 December 2005. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  6. ^ "Study project on Fort Madliena". Times of Malta. 18 December 2002. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  7. ^ "Fort Madalena". Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  8. ^ "Fort Madliena entrance to undergo restoration works". The Malta Independent. 27 June 2019. Archived from the original on 27 June 2019.
  9. ^ "Fort Madliena gate undergoing restoration". Times of Malta. 27 June 2019. Archived from the original on 27 June 2019.

This page was last updated at 2019-11-11 17:34 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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