As one approaches Għadira Bay on the way to the popular sandy beaches close by, just before driving the last few miles on the road to catch the Gozo ferry, St. Agatha’s tower – or as better known locally, the Red Tower – dominates the scenery from its imposing position at the edge of Marfa Ridge.

  • Mellieħa



  • European Regional Development Fund


    European Regional Development Fund

  • Investing in Competitiveness for a better quality of life


    Investing in Competitiveness for a better quality of life

  • €306,000

    Cost of Project


  • €468,352 (covering restoration of three towers)

    Total EU Allocation

    €468,352 (covering restoration of three towers)

This impressive fortification dates back to 1649, when Grand Master Jean Paul Lascaris Castellar sought to strengthen Malta’s coastal defences, with a tower made of four-metre-thick walls, large enough to host a cannon and accommodate a garrison of some 30 men.

The strategic position of this tower protected the underlying bay while allowing communication with other towers situated on Comino and Gozo, and also provided a view of both sides of the island to spot enemy ships.

Testament to the strength of this building, the British used this same tower centuries later for defence purposes too, manning it during both World Wars.

Besides its rich history, the stunning location of the Tower offers unparalleled views over Mellieħa Bay, the Għadira Nature Reserve as well as of Gozo and Comino. It is also a perfect relaxing spot for hikers and trekkers seeking some shade as they make their way along the North side of the island.

The restoration of the Tower, whose famous wine-like colour had almost been washed away through the centuries, formed part of a wider project, costing €600,000, through which local heritage NGO Din l-Art Ħelwa carried out the restoration of three towers: St. Agatha Tower (known as it-Torri l-Aħmar) in Mellieħa, Dwejra Tower in Gozo and Santa Marija Battery in Comino.

The European Regional Development Fund was diligently tapped into by Malta’s National Trust, with co-financing by the Malta Tourism Authority to ensure that these three key pieces of Malta’s history are restored to the original appearance.

More than a third of this budget was allocated towards the Red Tower project which focused mainly on restoration works both inside and outside the tower. The project included the installation of an improved lighting system, a new security system, the restoration of apertures, fitting of security grilles and flooring works.

Restoration work on the exterior part of the tower also included the meticulous removal of items that had been attached to it despite having no historical value, as well as the replacement of stone parts which were damaged or which had deteriorated due to the course of time.

Besides bringing back dignity to this wonderful piece of military architecture, this EU-supported project gives another boost to tourism on the islands, since the St Agatha Tower attracts large numbers of tourists who visit the area.

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