The Lascaris towers: Xlendi and Dwejra Towers in Gozo.

The Lascaris towers: Xlendi and Dwejra Towers in Gozo.

 

Dwejra Tower

 

 

 

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Located in Dwejra limits of San Lawrenz in the island of Gozo, completed in 1652, and it’s also known as “Qawra Tower” or “Torri Tal-Qawra”. It is one of the surviving Gozo coastal watchtowers such as Xlendi Tower, Mgarr ix-Xini Tower, and L-Isopu tower.

 

The Universita of Gozo funded this tower, and it is one of the Lascaris towers. Its goal was to act as a watchtower and guard the surrounding areas against incoming enemies, such as pirates and corsairs. Just like any other tower, its function was to communicate to nearby defense fortifications through fire and smoke at night and during the day. The expenses were covered by producing salt from salt pans nearby. It was also equipped with three-pounder guns in the time around the 18th century.

Grand Master Pinto made the nearby Fungus Rocks illegal to access because of the fungus growing there which was believed to have medicinal powers. The tower was used as a lookout to prevent anyone from climbing on the islet.

 

The tower was manned by the Royal Malta Fencible Artillery Between 1839 and 1873. It was left neglected until 1914 where it was used in the Frist Great War when the King’s Own Malta Regiment and the Royal Malta Artillery were dispatched and it was manned by No. 3 company and 2 and later, 12 pounder guns. It was yet again used during the second great war as an observation spot. In 1942, Captain Frank Debono and Carmelo Zahra who was stationed in the tower rescued an RAF pilot who crashed nearby.

 

Today, the tower is in pristine condition, but before it was loaned to Din L-Art Helwa it was left in disarray where it was restored. The tower is open to the public and the entrance is free.

 

Xlendi Tower.

 

 

 

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This tower is located in Xlendi Bay in the whereabouts of Munxur Gozo dating back to 1650. It is the oldest of the four surviving watchtowers in Gozo. Garzes and Marsalforn towers were destroyed in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Unverista of Gozo paid for this tower. Unlike the other towers, the Xlendi Tower has an additional platform with a slop. It has a flat roof where guns were mounted. Initially, it held two 6-pounder guns which later became 4-pounder guns. The tower was under command of a Capomastro, assisted by a bombardier and an Aggiutante all paid by the Universita. At night, three men kept on watch on the tower and Salt pans were located nearby.

 

By 1681 this tower was already in poor condition and during the British era, the tower fell under the responsibility of the Royal Malta Fencible Artillery when the Fencible Artillery was relieved of its coastal watch duties in 1873; the tower was deserted.

 

During the Second Great War, the coast police manned the tower as an observation spot. In 1954 the tower was leased to a private person and again it was left abandoned.  

 

The tower today is being taken care of by the Munxar Local Council and Din L-Art Helwa in October 2009 and sharing the expenses equally. The Tower is being restored.

 

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