Fort St Michael is a fortification on the island of Malta, which is now destroyed except for the outer bastions which can still be seen to this day.
The fort was built by the Order of Saint John after the 1551 attack, on the peninsula then known as Isola di San Michele formed by Dockyard Creek and French Creek in Grand Harbour. The fortified city of Senglea which was later built around the fort is still known locally as l-Isla.
The original fort was begun in 1551, initially under the patronage of Grand Master Juan d'Homedes, to a design by the military engineer Pedro Pardo d’Andrera, and extended to a fortified city by Grand Master Claude de la Sengle during the Knights' preparations for the Siege of Malta.
The fort's design in very similar to that of Fort St. Elmo on the Sciberras Peninsula, with the exception of a bastioned front and a ravelin.
Fort St Michael was one of three forts defending the Knights stronghold in Grand Harbour during the siege, along with Fort St Elmo and Fort St Angelo. Fort St Elmo fell, but Fort St Michael withstood the siege, though massively damaged, the scene of some of the most desperate fighting of the siege. It withstood 10 assaults from the Ottoman Turkish attackers.
The rebuilding and development of the fortified city of Senglea after the siege continued until 1581. The name Fort St Michael became associated with the landward bastion of Senglea, also known as the St Michael Battery, or the St. Michael's cavalier. This was largely dismantled during extensions to the dockyard area at the end of the 19th century and construction of a new primary school in the 1920s. The remainder was badly damaged by aerial bombing during the Siege of Malta during the Second World War. After the war the ruins were dismantled and the site made into a public garden.
However, the impressive seaward bastions of the fort remain, heir to Fort St Michael's original site and purpose, as does the Senglea Main Gate, which has recently been restored, after the post war reconstruction collapsed in the late 1960s due to heavy rainfall.
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