The Battery at Wied Musa was left to fall into a neglected, abandoned state
Negotiations between the Government and private industry for a historical place in Marfa, with beautiful views of the channel, to be transformed into a boutique hotel, have not yet been concluded. In a visit which a TVM crew made to the battery at Wied Musa, they found a building in a very neglected state.
Thousands pass from in front of this building on their way to and from Gozo. Hidden from the road and facing Comino, there is a battery which was built as a coastal fortification in 1715 on the advice of Fenech engineers to the Knights so that the enemy would not be able to land easily on the shore, and to give the defence around Valletta’s harbours more time to organise themselves.
The battery, which is in the shape of half a sphere, had a platform for canons and a building at the back. It was not guarded all year long but soldiers used to be sent there when there was a fear of invasion. Stanley Farrugia Randon, an official from Din l-Art Ħelwa said that the battery was armed with four cannons which used to fire cannonballs weighing 8 pounds each. In the 19th century, an extension was built making the building look as it does now.
“During the British era it started being used as a residence for the Marquis of Hastings. Afterwards it also started being used as a hotel but eventually it was neglected and began to be used as a retreat house. When I was young I used to come here with the Jesuits.”
Over time however the battery was abandoned and because of its location, exposed to the elements, it sustained a lot of damage. There are roofs missing, stone slabs which were broken and as we saw with our own eyes, it was filled with large amounts of different types of waste which was dumped here. These kind of things do not honour our history.
“We should not always just give priority to construction because there are many places which can be of benefit to Malta’s economy because you still need workers to restore these places and at the same time, they can be enjoyed by the public and are a source of information and culture both for us as well as tourists.”
Six years ago, the Government started discussions with private companies so that the building can be turned into a boutique hotel. It appears that these negotiations fell through. A spokesperson with the Lands Authority did not refer to this proposal but only said that the authority is still evaluating the potential of the building and how best to exploit it.
A spokesperson for the Lands Authority said that the Battery at Wied Musa has been scheduled at the highest grade since 1995. Around the battery there is also an area made up of barriers, which is scheduled, to protect the Battery and its context. He added that in this area there are four defence structures dating back to WWII, which are all scheduled at Second Grade.