Victoria Lines Fortifications
Victoria Lines Fortifications is part of the Tentative list of Malta in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.
The Victoria Lines is a fortification about ten kilometres long in the north-west of Malta. The defence line runs along the Great Fault, a natural barrier that stretches across the entire width of the island. The fortifications were built by the British in the second half of the 19th century and consist of three independent forts connected by a continuous wall.
Map of Victoria Lines FortificationsLoad map
The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.
To make it clear from the start: I think the Victoria Lines are a bad idea for a WHS. For my visit, I drove up to the Targa Batteries (which are signposted). It is the only part where some conservation efforts have been done by private enthusiasts. A friendly guy had me have a look around, but the gun positions are still just an overgrown pile of stones. This is private ground and not really open for tourists. The three main forts of the line all seem to be completely closed to tourists, so this is still the best possibility to see some of the fortification works up close. There is a path going along the fortification wall in the direction of Fort Bingemma, which actually makes for a nice hike. I walked along it for roughly one hour until I arrived at some intermediate hill battery, and you can see all three forts and more or less the complete fortification line from there. You can also see that there is not much to see of the fortifications. The views of the countryside are nice, though.
Though I had a good time hiking there, with no other tourists around and plenty of beautiful wilderness, I still think that this site definitely does not belong to the list. Now, purely military buildings are always a tough sell. In this case, it is even worse:
- The buildings have no aesthetic qualities, nor were ever intended to have any.
- The fortifications were never tested in battle, nor were ever part of any important event in history.
- The fortifications were considered obsolete and ineffective already at the time of completion.
Okay, so the defense ring of Amsterdam managed to become a WHS in spite of these points, but the Victoria Lines are even worse: They are not especially big, complex, difficult to construct or innovative, and definitely not impressive. Their worth was considered so low that they were in fact never fully equipped, and never truly operational. Not exactly a masterpiece of human creative genius, if you ask me. The three forts are not open to the public, and are occupied by the military and squatters (!) who show no interest in maintaining the historical integrity. Despite not being that old, the fortifications are in a bad shape, with crumbling walls and overgrown buildings. What more must I say ? There must be hundreds of military constructions from the last two centuries that are more worthy for consideration. This site should stay wide away from the WHS list.
Visited in April 2019.
Importance 2/5 Beauty 1/5 Uniqueness 1/5 Environment 5/5 Experience 3/5
1998 Added to Tentative List
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49 Community Members have visited.