Graffiti, Maltese style

On what has become an annual event each February, the lovely M&M drove us around the island of Malta on a mystery tour. One of the stops was an old fort in Birżebbuġa in the south of the island.

Il-Fortizza ta’ Bengħisa (Fort Benghisa), dates back to the part of the twentieth century. The southernmost fort on the island, it was built by the British as one of a series of forts designed to protect Marsaxlokk harbour. We visited Fort Delimara last year and may well have also seen Fort Tas-Silġ too. I don’t think I’ve seen Fort San Lucian or the Pinto and Ferretti batteries … and to be honest, unless there’s a story attached, I’d pretty much forted out. Not for nothing was Malta once known as Fortress Island.

Originally envisaged as a battery, it came to life as a polygonal fort and was home to the British until the late 1970s. Rather cleverly, the parapet is built from the earth excavated from the deep ditch that runs at the base of the walls.

What makes it interesting today is that it’s now private property. Back in 1973, the government rented part of it for less than €100 a year. In both 1981 and 1996, two more plots were rented out for an annual rent of €177 and €419, respectively. The three tenants are into animal husbandry. I’m sure Fort Delimara was rented as a piggery and is now rented to Heritage of Malta for €764 a year – a lot more money. I read that Tas-Silg fort is rented for an annual sum of €232 to the Island Sanctuary as a dog shelter. I’d like to live in a fort… for a while… just to see.

But in 2011, the government stopped accepting rent for Fort Benghisa, presumably with the intention of getting rid of the tenants but there’s still people living there – or at least some well-fed chickens, turkeys, ducks, and geese.

Entrance to Fort Benghisa Malta

Graffiti on wall at Fort Benghisa Malta

There was a serious-looking NO ENTRY sign that was less than inviting. I took a few steps inside to see the graffiti we’d come to look for, regimental stamps dating back to the British days. It was a quick in and out though – I wasn’t hanging around.

Graffiti on wall at Fort Benghisa Malta

Graffiti on wall at Fort Benghisa Malta

Graffiti on wall at Fort Benghisa Malta

Back outside the main gate though, the stone walls bore closer scrutiny. There we saw crude etchings of bomber planes and crosses and what might have been submarines… with names attached. Fascinating stuff. I wonder where these chaps are today and if they ever come back to check and see if their names are still there.

 

 

Share:

Sign up here to get an email whenever I post something new.

Never miss a post

More Posts

Staying local at Kányavári sziget

We dream of islands in the sun. Exotic places where we can get away from it all. We spend hundreds if not thousands of whatevers

Person wearing a kurent costume - horns, devil mask with glowing eyes, wool hair - like a sheep's fleece. Gruesome teeth barred - smoke in the background

Ptuj, Slovenia: Kurentovanje

Shrovetide carnivals like those in Rio de Janeiro, Venice, and New Orleans, need little by way of introduction. They’re well-famous, days-long festivities in the lead-up

One arch of a red iron bridge spanning a wide river. Bridge is reflected in the water as is the cloudless blue sky

Strolling the streets of Maribor, Slovenia

I was surprised that Maribor didn’t make the list of the top 50 most walkable cities in the world. Or even the 33 most walkable

Sobering up in Maribor, Slovenia

Maribor. Maribor. Maribor. The name was embedded in my brain long before I ever set foot in the city. I knew of it because of

Walking through history in Maribor, Slovenia

I’m not a massive fan of museums. Unless they deal with war or resistance or the Holocaust. Or something completely off the wall like the

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.