Culture
What a time capsule! The Malta at War Museum is our must visit this week
Don't miss it

Jillian Mallia

The Malta at War Museum is another gem that definitely shouldn’t be missed. The incredible museum is located at the stunning Couvre Porte at Birgu, just outside the city’s gate. The museum documents the ordeal that the locals and the defenders endured during the dark days of the Malta Blitz (1940-43) during the Second World War.

malta at war

The Malta at War Museum

Due to its strategic position right next to the Dockyards, Birgu was inevitably one of the most bombed places on the island, with nearly half of its area being destroyed as a result of the air raids.

malta at war

Today’s museum is housed within an 18th century army barracks which served as a police state and air raid precautions centre during the war. Heading below, one can feel the eeriness that comes with this rock-cut air raid shelter that offered refuge to so many people.

Periodic artefacts and memorabilia can be found in the museum, including things such as personal items, documents, medals, uniforms, weaponry, newsreels and sounds. The museum also offers a hands-on interpretation and multilingual audio-guides.

malta at war

Visitors can also watch the first documentary ever made on the island called ‘Malta G.C.’ The short film was released by the Crown Film Unit in early 1943 on the order of King George VI who wanted to show the bravery and endurance shown by the Maltese during these trying times.

malta at war

MALTA AT WAR MUSEUM / Facebook

The historic air raid shelters

The air raid shelters, just below the museum, come highly recommended and are possibly one of the best locations to witness what life was like during the war. Shelters were regulated by a Shelter Supervisor of Air Raid Warden, who were lodged in a cubicle within the shelter.

malta at war

MALTA AT WAR MUSEUM / Facebook

As a result of the blockade that stopped fuel from entering the ports, the shelters were lit using improvised tactics such as filling crevices with water and a thick layer of oil or diluted fat. Within this, a wick would be stuck in and set aflame.

Only gated screens or curtains were allowed down below to prevent restricting air flow in such a tight space, and the communal dormitory was fitted with bunk beds that were used on a first-come first-serve basis.

malta at war

Opening times

The Malta at War Museum is open from Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm, last admission being at 4.30pm.

Buying the Heritage Pass to Fort Rinella, the Malta at War Museum, Lascaris War Rooms, the War H.Q Tunnels and the Saluting Battery will save you 30 per cent on tickets! This multi-site ticket also gives an automatic 10 per cent discount on merchandise bought at the Malta Military Bookshop at Castille Place in Valletta upon presentation of your ticket.

malta at war

MALTA AT WAR MUSEUM / Facebook

For more information on tickets, click here!

17th June 2019


Jillian Mallia
Written by
Jillian Mallia
A book lover, writer and globetrotter who loves exploring new places and the local gems that the Maltese Islands have to offer. An avid foodie and arts fanatic, Jillian searches the island and beyond for the perfect settings to write about.

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