You will see the watchtower on the high ground just off the road leading to the small enclosed bay at Dwejra in Gozo, also known as the ‘inland sea’. It is one of six coastal watchtowers built in Gozo during the era of the Knights of St. John. The Dwejra watchtower was commissioned by Grandmaster Jean Paul Lascaris Castellar.
The purpose of the watchtower was to give warnings of enemy approaches, such as pirates and corsairs. When such approaches were sighted, the men inside could signal other watchtowers by using fire at night or smoke during the day.
The Dwejra watchtower was built on a square base with two floors and a turret on the roof from where you can admire the fantastic views of the surrounding area. Before the steep external steps were built, the only way to get into the tower was via a retractable ladder through the top floor–this offered security to the men inside in case the enemy managed to make a landing.
The top floor served as a guardroom and living quarters for a garrison of up to four men. The basement was used for storage while a small gunpowder store was kept on the roof. A water reservoir was dug into the rock underneath the tower. During the times of the Knights, the salt pans in front of the Tower served to raise money to cover maintenance costs for the tower.
After the period of the Knights, the strategic position of the tower ensured that it was not abandoned. It was used during the 18th century and later manned by the Royal Malta Fencible Artillery between 1839 and 1873. During the summer of 1914 Maltese troops from the King’s Own Malta Regiment and the Royal Malta Artillery were dispatched to the coastal watch towers and Dwejra Tower was manned by No. 3 Company.
During the Second World War the Tower was used by the British as an Observation Post.
Highlights – Why should you visit the Dwejra Watchtower?
This tower is in excellent state and shows the skill and craftsmanship of both the architects and the builders that were capable of constructing a self-sufficient watchtower, complete with underground water reservoir. You can go right up to the roof and admire the view from up there.
In the basement of the tower you can watch a very well made short film on underwater life in Dwejra.
How to get there
If you’re using public transport, reaching Dwejra is fairly easy – just hop on bus number 311 from Victoria and you’ll be there in just 25 minutes. The bus runs on a frequent schedule.
Visiting the Dwejra watchtower isn’t advisable if you have mobility issues. The walk up up from the road is fairly steep and there are also several steep steps to get into the tower itself as well as to climb up to the roof.
The Tower is open to the public during these hours: Monday to Friday and on Sundays and Public Holidays from 10.30 to 12.30h and 13.15 to 15.30h.
You can confirm that the tower is indeed open for viewing when the flag is flying on top of its roof.
Entrance is free.