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Inside the secret bunker where Malta helped win the war

This is the underground bunker where Malta helped to win the war.

The Lascaris War Rooms under the streets of Valletta were top secret during the 1940s but have become one of Malta’s top visitor attractions.

During the Second World War they were Malta’s nerve centre – and the secret headquarters of the British and Allied Mediterranean forces.

It was from here that General Eisenhower commanded Operation Husky, the successful invasion of Sicily in 1943.

You can still see his ops rooms complete with maps, phones and plotting tables, as well as ancient-looking communication systems.

Senior British commanders including Admiral Andrew Cunningham, Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery and Air Marshal  Arthur Tedder were also based here.

There is an audioguide in English as well as tour guides full of additional facts and stories about Malta’s crucial role in the war.

The Lascaris War Rooms are underneath the Upper Barrakka Gardens so it is easy to visit both on the same outing.

After the war, the bunker became part of the headquarters of the Royal Navy’s Mediterranean Fleet.

It was put into full alert during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, when a Soviet missile strike against Malta was feared.

The bunker then served as a NATO communications centre until it was closed down in 1977.

Left abandoned for decades, the underground rooms suffered damage from years of flooding until the complex was handed over to The Malta Heritage Trust, Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna, in 2009.

Since then, the organisation has been working to fully restore the vast underground military complex which covers an area of 28,000 square metres.

Years of neglect have been reversed to return the neighbouring Combined Operations Room back to its former glory.

FWA chairman Mario Farrugia said: ‘The restoration of the Combined Ops Room has been a mammoth task.’

Read more: The Malta Heritage Trust