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The Garzes Tower

The problem of corsair entering Mgarr Harbour to replenish their vessels with water and to plunder the fields existed from time immemorial. The people petitioned the building of a tower to guard the Gozo - Malta channel as early as 1418. The first tower was however raised on Gozo. In a report of 1599, on Gozo's defence problems, the military engineer emphasized the necessity of a tower to guard the channel. Grand Master Martin Garzes, aware of its urgency, decided to finance the building out of his own purse. He died before the project started but he made a provision in his will for the financing of the work.

Six years after his death, a tower was raised on the promontory  flanked by Wied l-Kbir or Mgarr Valley on one side and Wied Biljun on the other. The tower was the first in a series to render Mgarr Harbour and Gozo a safer place to live in. It was situated on the site which is now occupied by l-Mgarr Hotel (5 star). The tower had several guns mounted on the roof, for which embrasures set equidistantly from each other, were constructed along each of its four peripheral sides or parapets so that the tower could deal with attacks on any direction.   Grand Master Martin Garzes had spent a large sum of money for the construction of this tower. It was the first tower in Gozo which has taken action against the Turks.

The tower included a medieval chapel dedicated to St Martin, which served as the unacknowledged parish church for the people of nearby villages. In fact, the tower was sometimes also known as St Martin Tower

Unfortunately, after 243 years, commanding the approaches to the Comino straits and Mgarr Harbour, in 1848 it was decided to demolish this tower. With its masonry, the arched bridge linking Mgarr to Nadur road was built.



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