Banif Bank has supported Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna (FWA) through a sponsorship for its long-term management of the 18th Century Mistra Battery in Mellieha. The FWA’s aim is to restore this important monument to its one-time glory. The exercise will see its original extensive stone gun platform re-exposed, the gun merlons rebuilt, part of the stone parapet wall rebuilt and the rear part of the defensive ditch re-excavated. The draw bridge will be re-installed and the interior of the two block-houses will be restored and used for a museum display and six replica 18th century naval guns. There are also plans to install basic water and electrical services and publish a guide book on the history of the battery and the subject of 18th century Maltese coastal defences.
Banif Bank’s Executive Committee being shown around the Malta At War Museum by FWA Chairman and CEO Mario Farrugia
The coastal battery was built by the Order of St John between 1714 and 1716 during the rule of the Aragonese Grandmaster Fra Ramon Perrelos. However, the battery entrance is surmounted by the armorial arms of another Grandmaster Fra Manuel Pinto de Fonseca which may indicate that it was either completed or reconstructed at a later stage. This was done at a time of significant strategic change in the defensive outlook of the Order, during which the defences were expanded from the Grand Harbour area to the entire island. Mistra Battery was built as part of this major defensive rethink meant to slow down enemy landing until the mobile reserves reach the place of landing.
On a recent visit to FWA sites by Banif Bank’s Executive Committee, CEO Joaquim F. Silva Pinto said, “Being at the heart of several military campaigns, the Maltese people have a history of enduring hardship and overcoming adversity which serves to forge a deep sense of pride in their heritage. Banif Bank acknowledges this and is committed to supporting FWA’s efforts to renovate important landmarks such as the Mistra Battery, which are a physical testament to this legacy.”