The bunker has been abandoned for over 70 years.
Without a doubt, our little rock in the middle of the Med played an important role during the battles of World War II. The island was modified as it became a military base, and one important site was the Lascaris War Rooms and the War Headquarters in Valletta.
Lascaris War Rooms / Facebook
During a restoration, Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna came across what was a long lost part of the original headquarters – a massive underground bunker. The rediscovered area started being built around 1941 but was never finished due to the war having ebbed away in 1943, while it was still under construction. The fascinating bunker is being opened to the public for a one-time event on 17th March.
Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna via Special Tour of the Unfinished Bunker / Facebook
The first-ever guided tour of the bunker
After being abandoned for 70 years, Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna is offering the public the chance to witness the grandeur and uncover the secrets of the unfinished bunker. The hour-long introductory tour will begin at 10.30am, 11.30am and 12.30pm on Sunday 17th March. Each explorer will be given a printed history, which includes archive maps of the war rooms.
Lascaris War Rooms / Facebook
Hard hats will be distributed, and personal torches and sensible shoes are to be brought along. A maximum of 150 visitors will be allowed in on the day across the three tours, so booking is essential! The tour will be against a fee of €15 for adults, €10 for members and €5 for kids. You can book your place for this incredible event here.
Saluting Battery / Facebook
A jump back through time
The unfinished bunker is located on two levels within the subsoil of the St Peter and Paul Counterguard in Valletta, covering an area of some 8,000 square metres. The envisioned plan for this area was to build an accommodation and office space, as well as an operations space. The accommodations and office were built and modernised, however works on the second part came to a halt as skilled miners were needed elsewhere.
Ernest Ferrante via Malta In Photographs / Facebook
By the time enough labour became available in mid-1942, the war momentum changed and plans for the bunker did too. As the war switched gears in favour of the allies, it also ebbed away from Malta. By the end of the year, almost all facilities in the Lascaris Ditch were closed down or briefly deserted in favour of moving them out to the airfields. Plans to complete the bunker were initially suspended, leaving all the machinery and equipment in place, but eventually all was forgotten.
Simon Cusens via The Malta George Cross Movement / Facebook
Some years later in the early 1950s, the matter was briefly resuscitated by the War Department, but it was immediately stalled, this time for good. Orders were give to block all access and the area was permanently sealed and forgotten. Due to this impromptu decision, the interior of the building has been frozen in time, with all the rails, mining carts and equipment still in place as if the workers were to come back to carry on their mining work.
Will you be visiting this impressive time capsule?