Fort Benghisa (Maltese: Il-Fortizza ta' Bengħisa) is a polygonal fort in Birżebbuġa, Malta. It was built between 1910 and 1912 by the British on high ground on the seaward face of Benghisa Point, the southern arm of Marsaxlokk Bay. It is the southernmost fortification in Malta.

Fort Benghisa
Il-Fortizza ta' Bengħisa
Birżebbuġa, Malta
Fort Benghisa
Coordinates35°48′30″N 14°31′56″E / 35.80833°N 14.53222°E / 35.80833; 14.53222
TypePolygonal fort
Site information
OwnerGovernment of Malta
Controlled byPrivate tenants
Open to
the public
ConditionIntact but neglected
Site history
Built byBritish Empire
In use1912–1970s
MaterialsLimestone and Concrete

It was part of a chain of fortifications intended to protect Marsaxlokk Harbour, along with Fort Delimara and Fort Tas-Silġ on Delimara point, the north arm of Marsaxlokk Bay, Fort San Lucian on Kbira point in the middle of the bay, and the Pinto and Ferretti batteries on the coast.

History edit

The fort's gatehouse

Initially, a battery called Hassan Battery was proposed at Benghisa Point. However, the design was developed into a polygonal fort in 1909. Construction started in 1910 and was completed in 1912. The fort was armed with two 6 inch and two 9.2 inch breech loading guns. The 17th-century Bengħisa Tower was demolished to clear Fort Benghisa's line of fire in 1915.

The fort has a ditched pentagonal perimeter, with the perimeter wall and parapet being built from earth excavated during the building of the ditch. The cliffs on the seaward side were also used as part of the fort's defensive perimeter. Fort Benghisa was the last polygonal fort that the British built in Malta.

The fort was rearmed prior to World War II. In the 1950s, dual purpose guns were installed but these were dismantled soon after. It was finally abandoned by the British in the late 1970s.[1]

Present day edit

The fort is currently in private hands and its interior is inaccessible. Part of the fort was rented in 1973 for an annual sum equivalent to €93, while other parts were rented out in 1981 and 1996 for an annual €177 and €419 respectively. The rents were renewed until 2011, when the government stopped accepting them with the intention to evict the tenants.[2]

The fort and its environs are currently in a state of neglect, although the gatehouse and the shoreward ditch are in decent shape..[1]

References edit

  1. ^ a b "Fort Benghisa". Malta Military. Retrieved 31 December 2014.
  2. ^ Debono, James (21 December 2011). "Benghajsa fort to be returned to government". Malta Today. Retrieved 31 December 2014.