Fortifications Interpretation Centre

Fortifications Interpretation Centre

The Fortifications 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 unprovocative."

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. 

Another important 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.

Opening Times:

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.