The Malta Airport Foundation teamed up with Din L-Art Ħelwa in 2015 to coordinate the foundation’s first project: the complete restoration of Torri Xutu in Wied Iż-Żurrieq. The Knights of St. John built the 17th century watchtower during the reign of Grand Master Jean Paul Lascaris de Castellar. Located at one of Malta’s most beautiful vantage points, the tower had fallen into disrepair and needed renovation by the time that the two-year restoration project started.
Torri Xutu’s surroundings are also of great local importance in Malta. Its value to science, wealth of marine and terrestrial biodiversity, and proximity to Malta’s ancient Neolithic temples of Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra are priceless. The tower’s restoration and complementary boundary landscaping project forms part of a strategy to enhance the tourism industry in the southwest region of Malta.
The airport’s foundation—solely in collaboration with Din L-Art Ħelwa—invested €250,000 into this project.
History of Torri Xutu
Torri Xutu provides considerable architectural importance to Malta. A prototype for watchtowers subsequently built by Grand Master de Redin, it proved stronger than the old, flimsy ones built by Lascaris. Torri Xutu has vaulted ceilings—as opposed to wooden beams—and could support cannons. In fact, the flat roof has a parapet with two embrasures for guns.
Xutu Tower’s name derives from ‘Guardia Xutu’. Its squat, solid form consists of two floors and a roof. This look-out post linked with other stations in the South East and North West and played an important role for centuries in Malta’s coastal defence. During the Second World War the tower was almost certainly used as an observation post manned by the Coast Police.
Until 2002, the tower was used as a police station.
The Re-opening of Torri Xutu
The newly restored Torri Xutu was re-opened to the public on the 10th of July 2019. One of the biggest challenges of the project stemmed from the boundary landscaping works that were undertaken so as to rehabilitate the cliff garigue surrounding the area, which is one of Malta’s 34 terrestrial Natura 2000 sites.
Visitors can take a tour of Ta’ Xutu for free during the opening hours: Mon-Thurs, Sat-Sun 10am-noon; Friday 12.30pm-3.30pm.