Interpretation Centre is a public institution dedicated specifically to
communicating and exhibiting the history and significance of Malta's military
architecture heritage. It is a cross between a museum, an information point and
a resource centre. It was established through an initiative of the Ministry for
Resources and Rural Affairs through its Restoration Directorate, which is the
public entity charged with the restoration and rehabilitation of all historical
public buildings and sites.
From the outset it was
decided that the centre was not to serve as another 'museum' intended to
glorify or commemorate war. Indeed, of all the weapons of war,
fortifications were perhaps the only ones that were intended to protect rather
than destroy life. To cite the words of the late Prof. Quentin Hughes once
again 'military architecture is not of a warlike and provocative nature, rather
it is the very essence of peaceful co-existence. Fortresses were designed to
maintain authority, not to usurp. Military architecture is the art of defence,
not of attack. Permanent fortifications are in essence non-aggressive and
The idea behind the
Interpretation Centre, therefore, is to draw attention to the creative rather
than the destructive aspects of human ingenuity by seeking to instil, first and
foremost, a feeling and an appreciation for architecture, engineering, and art,
and the manner in which all these three elements were brought together to
fashion the formidable fortifications of Malta. The theme of the exhibition
focuses on the fortress as a structure, and its design and construction within
the Maltese context - hence the name 'The Fortress Builders'. Indeed, before
any fortress could be put to the onerous task of defence, it had first to be
built, and the skills that were necessary to design and build a fortress were
not the same as those that were required to defend it. The military man who
designed and built the fortifications had to be architects and builders first
and soldiers second.
decision that was made by the designers was that the Centre was to make use of
multi -media technology in conjunction with traditional displays to create an
interactive educational experience rather than simply having a fixed static
display of information panels and scale models.
The centre is designed to
function as a stepping stone to the proper appreciation of the military
architecture heritage of the Maltese islands. It is designed to introduce
visitors, Maltese and foreigners alike, to the extent, variety, complexity and
sophistication of Malta's fortifications. It does this by placing the
fortifications within their proper historical, architectural, technical and
military context. The Fortifications Interpretation Centre, through its
reference library and through its lecture hall, is also aimed at the student
and researcher and provides the necessary educational and research resources
for anybody willing to delve deeper into the subject. The Centre also serves as
a documentation centre and as a national database of all things related to the
history and conservation of Maltese fortifications.
16th June - 30th September:
9.00am – 1.00pm
Tuesdays and Thursdays, the Centre is open till 4.00pm.
1st October - 15th June:
Monday to Friday: 10.00am – 4.00pm.
Tuesdays and Thursdays, the Centre is open till 7.00pm.
Saturdays: 9.30am – 1.00pm.
The Centre is closed on public holidays. On the 24th
and 31st December the Centre is open till 12.30pm.