Restoration and conservation project for Xlendi Tower
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Xlendi Tower is to undergo a restoration and conservation project, at a total estimated cost of €335,000, of which €284,000 will be provided through the EU – European Regional Development Fund.
The Munxar Local Council said that the project will include the construction of an interpretation and tourist information centre. Photovoltaic panels will be installed to supply power in the interest of preserving the environment.
The Council, in collaboration with Wirt Ghawdex, when the project is completed, will within the interpretation centre, provide static displays, exhibitions and reenactments on the history of this tower.
Xlendi Tower was built in 1650 and since the two towers preceding it do not exist today, this makes this tower the oldest freestanding one in Gozo.
It was first projected by Baliff Baldassare de Demandolx in 1649 and after slightly more than a year it was already completed. It was paid for by the Universita of Gozo and the Grand Master of the time, Lascaris, ordered that 2 iron guns be mounted.
The Capo Mastro, or commander of the tower, was paid by the Order and the Universita. The Capo Mastro was a bombardier and he manned the tower with an assistant or Aggiutante.
It is 10 metres square and it has a unique shape as its seaward side has its lower part protruding out. It was also manned by three guards. In 1681, only 31 years after it was constructed, it was described to be in a bad state and needed restoration.
As with other coastal towers, under British rule the Xlendi tower was manned by the Royal Malta Fancible Regiment which changed its name in 1861 to the Royal Malta Fancible Artillery.
In 1873 the latter gave up its coastal guard commitments and so it was abandoned. During the second World War the tower was used as a Coast Observation Post and was manned by the Coast Police.