Saint Agatha’s Tower aka The Red Tower
The recently refurbished Saint Agatha’s Tower, more commonly referred to as the Red Tower and sometimes the Mellieha Tower is located in the north of Malta near the town of Mellieha. The tower is perched on the crest of the Marfa Ridge and has excellent views of the Mediterranean Sea, Gozo and Comino.
Who Was Saint Agatha?
The tower is dedicated to Saint Agatha. St Agatha was a Christian martyr who was revered as a symbol of strength against invasion and the plague in Malta and also, Sicily.
What Is The Red Tower?
The Red Tower is a large bastioned watchtower that forms part of the Lascaris towers, named after the then Grand Master of the Knights of Malta. It was constructed between 1647 and 1649. With its unobstructed view over the islands of Comino and Gozo, the Red Tower was in the perfect location to watch out for any invading attacks.
A Little History
The Red Tower, during the time of the Knights of St John, was one of the main defensive positions. The tower was equipped with cannons and had a garrison of 30 men. It could store enough food, water and ammunition to withstand a siege of 40 days. Wonder what happened on day 41?
The entrance to the Red Tower is by a flight of steps. In the past, there used to be a drawbridge. The tower is square with four corner towers, and you’ll never guess, red!
The outer tower walls are around four metres thick through which small windows were cut. The star-shaped entrenchment that serves as a gun platform is an eighteenth-century addition.
When Malta was under British rule, the tower was used for defence purposes and was manned during both the world wars.
Most recently, the Red Tower was used by the Armed Forces of Malta as a radar station.
The Present Day Red Tower Of Malta
By the end of the 20th century St. Agatha’s Tower was somewhat in disrepair. One turret was completely missing, and another turret was severely damaged.
The tower is now under the care of Din l-Art Ħelwa and was restored back in 2001. Most recently, it has been tarted up again and looks all spruce, smart and very red.
You can see the tower from all over the north of Malta, but close up, it really doesn’t seem that large at all.
Ok, there’s not that much wildlife over here, but we did spot a chameleon just chilling by the tower. Love seeing wildlife in the wild, so that was very exciting for us.
What Else Is There To Do Near The Red Tower?
It’s a good place for walking, but as with most of Malta, there’s little shade so not a great idea in the middle of summer. You are very close to sandy beaches, Mellieha, Popeye Village, or you could take a trip over to Gozo or visit the Blue Lagoon on Comino. Note: Blue Lagoon is beautiful but gets crazy busy during the summer months – I mean seriously crazy. Avoid cruise ship days!!
Opening Hours For The Red Tower
Winter Opening Hours:
16 Sep – 14 June Open Daily 10.00 – 16:00
Summer Opening Hours:
15 June – 15 Sep Open Daily 10.00hrs – 17.00hrs
Volunteers run the Red Tower, and although it says it’s open every day, it’s not. But actually, to appreciate the views, you don’t need to enter.
How To Get To The Red Tower of Malta
It’s easiest with your own transport, and there’s plenty of parking available.
By public transport, take buses 41, 42 from Valletta or Mellieha, or buses 221, 222 if you’re coming from Sliema/ St Julian’s. From the bus stop, it’s about a five-minute walk uphill to the tower.