Damages sustained by Fort Ricasoli in Kalkara, which was built between 1670 and 1698, are worrying those who safeguard the welfare of this important and historic fortification. Speaking on behalf of ‘Assoċċjazzjoni Wirt il-Kalkara’, the President of the Committee, Ivan Cauchi, said that the Fort has been left to deteriorate after World War Two. He described the state in which the Fort lies as “totally saddening”, and that structures which have to this day resisted the weather elements are now in serious danger of collapsing. He said that as evidenced by photographs, Fort Ricasoli has not been spared by the natural battering of sea waves which have caused the development of a cave underneath the foundations of the Fort, thus eventually risking the Fort of splitting in half. Damages also extend to the numerous structures within the Fort which are in an advanced stage of dilapidation and which dilapidation is now showing clearly.
Cauchi appealed that this dire situation be given immediate attention because of its cultural heritage importance before all is lost. He continued by asking for financial help so that the restoration works could start as soon as possible, with the end goal being to conserve this Fortification. The Association’s committee meets regularly, discussing and analysing the needs of the Fort in question, as well as, for other historical buildings within the region to receive the needed preservation attention.
It took the Order of St. John 28 years to build Fort Ricasoli, which takes its name from Cavalier Giovanni Francesco Ricasoli after he donated a large proportion of money for the Fort to be built. The Fort has been assigned in a number of roles throughout the course of its history, mainly that of being used as a prison, as a naval hospital, for quarantine purposes during the breakout of cholera, as a training centre for Royal Navy cadets, and more recently as a film backdrop for award-winning films like Troy and Gladiator.
Ivan Cauchi concluded by extending his appeal to other local associations, groups and the local population of the area and all those who can somehow provide any assistance in the hope that Fort Ricasoli speedily being accorded the recognition it deserves and the urgent maintenance that it needs.