Couvre Porte Counterguard and Bridge

The Couvre Porte, or Birgu Counterguard as it is also commonly known, was a defensive feature which was added to protect the approaches to Birgu’s main gateway, the Porta Superiore (situated in the right flank of St. John Bastion) during the reign of Grand Master Antoine de Paul (1723-1736). The structure underwent various alterations in the course of the eighteenth century, when it was fitted with a Baroque gateway and enveloped within a new system of outworks that involved a short stretch of covert way fitted with traverses as well as a reverse glacis. During the British period, a barrack block was built within the counterguard and this edifice is still in use, having served for a number of years as the offices for the Birgu Local Council. The ERDF 039 project has sought to restore the consumed masonry fabric of the counterguard, its main gate (including the reconstruction of the decorative trophies-of-arms) and also involved the excavation of its low ditch, which was cleared from the rubble dumped inside it, thereby introducing a greater degree of legibility to the historical structure. A sally-port was brought to light in the course of the clearing of this ditch.