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One World - Protecting the most significant buildings, monuments and features of Valletta (36)

The Hook at Triq San Ġwann

At the corner of Triq il-Merkanti and Triq San Ġwann, on the lower part of the wall of the Castellania building, is a large iron hook with its longer end fixed firmly in the wall and the shorter curved end below it. This part of the street is colloquially known as in-Niżla tal-Ganċ.

There are various accounts about the history and purpose of this hook, the most popular being that it was originally installed to anchor the block, tackle and guy ropes used to winch up Grand Master Pinto's great bell into St John's left-hand belfry. Another account is that the hook was used as part of the torture kit used at the Castellania (Order's court), whereby a rope was tethered to the hook to secure delinquents on the pillory at the corner.

In the 19th and early 20th century the hook became popular especially with men of the Royal Navy. Allegedly, junior officers such as midshipmen stood a good chance of promotion if they could pass through the hook. Sailors used to bet that if any shipmate managed to pass through it, his mates would pay the drinks of the winner.

Mepa scheduled The Hook feature as a Grade 1 feature of national significance as per Government Notice No. 276/08 in the Government Gazette dated March 28.

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