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Re-enactments at Torri Mamo

Torri Mamo

Torri Mamo

Torri Mamo, a 17th century fortified home on the outskirts of Marsascala, will be transformed into a living museum on Sunday.

Some 40 members of the Historical Re-Enactment Group of Malta will set up a training camp and carry out military drill and manoeuvres, in keeping with the traditions and procedures of the militia and regular regiments that defended Malta during the final years of the rule of the Knights of St John.

This activity will be one in a series programmed between Din L-Art Helwa and the Historical Re-Enactment Group of Malta to enable the public to enjoy some of Malta's historic sites and to better understand their original purpose.

Visitors will be greeted by the troops of the Order and escorted through the tower in small groups. They will meet the Commanding Officer and will be shown round his private quarters. Troops will be on field exercises, carrying out marching and musket drills.

Tents will be set up beside the moat where more troops will be lodged under canvas. Drummers and fifers will help the troops keep step and will accompany them in military songs of the period.

Visitors will also see a field kitchen and food being prepared for the troops. There will be the manufacturing of cartridges, casting of lead musket balls, stripping and cleaning of flintlock muskets, all following the very same procedures as those practiced by the soldiers of the Order. A blacksmith, with his forge, will be on hand to repair damaged equipment.

Torri Mamo, built in 1657, is one of the historic properties formally handed over recently to Din L-Art Helwa by the government under deed of guardianship.

With its unique St Andrew's cross formation and domed ceiling, this fortified country home is surrounded by a dry ditch and its central hall was bomb-proof, making it a well-defended position, offering shelter to as many as 80 refugees. It was restored by DLH, with the support of Round Table One.

The tower is one of a number erected by Grand Master Wignacourt and his immediate successors. The construction was entrusted to Gregorio Mamo, who in 1650 requested payment for the towers of Xghajra and Della Grazia at Zabbar, but it was probably finished by his son Giorgio. It served as the Guardia di Giorno's tower and as a stronghold. In fact, in contemporary paintings, it is shown flying the Order's battle colours: the white cross on a red field.

In the event of an enemy incursion in St Thomas Bay, the strong militia contingents of Zejtun and Zabbar would be alerted to march down to Marsascala and St Thomas bays to man the defences.

The Historical Re-Enactment Group of Malta is a voluntary group which seeks to keep alive the way of life, skills and military art of the militias and regiments who fought to defend Malta at the end of the 18th century through to the early years of British rule. Those wishing to enlisting may phone on tel. 9949 9805 or on e-mail at martindegiorgio@hotmail.com.

Visits to the tower will start every hour, on the hour, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The entrance charge will be Lm1 for adults while children will be free. All proceeds will be going towards Din L-Art Helwa's restoration and maintenance of the tower.

The tower is best reached from Zejtun, following the signs to Marsascala and St Thomas Bay, or from Marsascala, turning right at Re Del Pesce Restaurant.

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