Maltese Fortifications – Ras Hanzir Polverista – 24.08.2019

Although the Order of Saint John built extensive fortifications around most of the Grand Harbour area, Corradino was not fortified. A proposal to build a bastioned enceinte was made in the 1670s following the Cretan War between 1645 and 1669 but this was never built due to a lack of funds; the only military building on the headland was a POLVERISTA at Ras Ħanżir, which Pinto built in 1756.

The POLVERISTA was built during the Knights powder period and in the inner part of the Grand Harbour at the coast’s edge at Ras Hanzir, in the Marsa area, so that it could be supplied by boat and it was built close yet sufficiently away from the fortified settlements for safety purposes. The complex originally consisted of two parallel, very large vaulted stores with double pitched roofs and pointed stone arches, an identical smaller store, and a smaller vaulted room which were interconnected. The magazines are surrounded by a thick high wall for security and also to contain any explosion of the stores. Access to the complex was restricted by a single central gate.

The exterior walls have flanking buttressed arches at intervals to withstand the lateral thrust of the arched vaults.The stores were built with an elevated floor forming a basement to prevent dampness. A central courtyard served as a buffer between the stores and to ventilate the magazines.

Photos by Capt. Lawrence Dalli. Do not use these images without my permission. © All rights reserved. Malta Ship Photos & Action Photos –