Victoria Lines

Post suggested by Deskarati foreign correspondent Chris ford for Alan Mason.

Victoria_Lines_Malta_1

The Victoria Lines, originally known as the North West Front and sometimes unofficially known as the Great Wall of Malta, are a line of fortifications flanked by defensive towers, that spans 12 kilometres along the width of Malta, dividing the north of the island from the more heavily populated south.

The Victoria Lines run along a natural geographical barrier known as the Great Fault, from Madliena in the east, through the limits of the town of Mosta in the centre of the island, to Binġemma and the limits of Rabat, on the west coast. The complex network of linear fortifications known collectively as the Victoria Lines, that cut across the width of the island north of the old capital of Mdina, was a unique monument of military architecture.

When built by the British military in the late 19th century, the line was designed to present a physical barrier to invading forces landing in the north of Malta, intent on attacking the harbour installations, so vital for the maintenance of the British fleet, their source of power in the Mediterranean. Although never tested in battle, this system of defences, spanning some 12 km of land and combining different types of fortifications – forts, batteries, entrenchments, stop-walls, infantry lines, searchlight emplacements and howitzer positions – consitituted a unique ensemble of varied military elements all brought together to enforce the strategy adopted by the British for the defence of Malta in the latter half of the 19th century. A singular solution which exploited the defensive advantages of geography and technology as no other work of fortifications does in the Maltese islands.

The Victoria Lines owe their origin to a combination of international events and the military realities of the time. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, highlighted the importance of the Maltese islands. More here Victoria Lines

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One Response to Victoria Lines

  1. alfy says:

    Thanks, Chris, for following up our conversation on the Victoria Lines. You managed to see more of this feature than I did. The only part I remember well was the Bingemma Gap, which is up on a ridge giving a panoramic view of the plains to the north of the island. I was there to do some painting near the Dingli Cliffs, which I believe are the highest in Malta. I look forward to hearing about the Lines of Torres Vedras after your trip to Portugal.

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