Sopu Tower (Maltese: Torri ta' Sopu), also known as Isopu Tower, San Blas Tower or Torre Nuova, is a small watchtower situated on the cliff between San Blas and Daħlet Qorrot in Nadur, Gozo, Malta.

Sopu Tower
Torri ta' Sopu
Nadur, Gozo, Malta
Isopu Tower
Sopu Tower is located in Malta
Sopu Tower
Sopu Tower
Coordinates36°3′19.6″N 14°18′33.1″E / 36.055444°N 14.309194°E / 36.055444; 14.309194
TypeCoastal watchtower
Site information
OwnerGovernment of Malta
Controlled byDin l-Art Ħelwa
Open to
the public
Site history
Built byOrder of Saint John
Battles/warsCapture of Malta (1798)

Isopu Tower was the last watchtower to be built in Malta, apart from the tour-reduits of the 18th century. It is one of four surviving towers on Gozo, with the others being Xlendi Tower, Dwejra Tower and Mġarr ix-Xini Tower.

History edit

Isopu Tower was built by the Order of Saint John in 1667 during the reign of Grandmaster Nicolas Cotoner at the expense of the Università of Gozo. The latter paid for its garrison but artillery was supplied by the Order itself. The tower is square in shape, and the design is similar to the Xlendi and Dwejra Towers.

The walls are thick with inward slopes. The tower has a high barrel vault with the middle floor resting on rib arches. A spiral staircase provides access to the various floors. The main doorway had four escutcheons with coats of arms of the Order and the Gozo Università, and the personal arms of Cotoner and the Governor of Gozo.

By 1785 the tower was not permanently manned, but in 1792 it was rearmed with four 6-pounder iron guns. It was the only small coastal watchtower which actually tried to resist the French invasion of 1798 when it fired its guns on the approaching French fleet.[1][2]

Present day edit

The tower as seen from land, with the sea in the background

By the early 21st century, the tower was in a state of disrepair. Parts of it had weathered while most of the interior had already collapsed. The tower was restored by Din l-Art Ħelwa and the Nadur Local Council between 2003 and 2006. The restoration work was carried out by hand by Leli Saliba and his son. The spiral staircase was completely rebuilt from scratch, as were the roof and most of the interior. Only one of the original arches had survived, and it was used as a model on which to rebuild the roof. The restored tower was reopened on 20 August 2006.[3]

Nowadays, the tower is open for visitors on three Sundays in every month, but plans are underway to convert it into a visitor centre as part of a nature trail in the area.[4]

The area around the tower has been designated as a special conservation area.[1]

References edit

  1. ^ a b "Isopu Tower (it-Torri ta' Isopu), Nadur, Gozo". Din l-Art Ħelwa. 6 October 2011. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
  2. ^ "Ta' Isopu Tower". Visit Gozo. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
  3. ^ "Isopu Tower restored". Times of Malta. 20 August 2006. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
  4. ^ "Pay a visit to Isopu Tower situated between San Blas & Dahlet Qorrot". Gozo News. 11 October 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2014.

External links edit