Malta’s largest historic fort, which has appeared in several blockbuster films, is to be given a massive facelift.
Detailed plans to restore Fort Ricasoli, on the outskirts of Kalkara, have been given the go-ahead by Malta’s Planning Authority.
The proposals, which were submitted by the government’s Restoration Directorate will see work carried out in several phases.
The major gun emplacements will be restored before work begins on the ditches, barrack blocks and chapel.
The fort, built by the Knights of St John in the late 17th Century, is the largest in Malta.
Along with Fort St Elmo on the other side of Grand Harbour, Fort Ricasoli suffers the brunt of monster waves during the winter months.
Heritage experts say it is slowly being eaten away by the sea.
Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna president Mario Farrugia said Fort Ricasoli is worth saving.
He told The Malta Independent: ‘Over the years, the fort has been shamefully left to collapse.
Despite all the hullaballoo about its use by the film industry, its condition has been allowed to get progressively worse and worse.
‘Large parts of its sea-facing walls are irretrievably lost to the sea and in places its stonework has deteriorated.’
He added: ‘A sympathetic use for the whole of the fort – one which ideally should also be self-sustainable – should be found.
‘Opening it up as a heritage attraction will be good but that alone will never generate enough funds for its maintenance.
‘Hence, a mixed-use approach may be considered, which could still include film-making.’
Fort Ricasoli was active in the defence of Malta during the Second World War and was partially destroyed during a German bombing raid in 1942.
After the war, the fort was commissioned as HMS Ricasoli between 1947 and 1958, and was used as Royal Navy barracks.
In 1964, the Admiralty transferred control of the fort to the government of Malta.
The fort has served as a film location for some of cinema’s most iconic pictures.
Troy, Gladiator, The Devil’s Double, Agora and Assassin’s Creed were all shot at the 17th century fort in recent years.
Big names including Steven Spielberg, Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom and Ridley Scott all praised Fort Ricasoli as an ideal place to make movies.
The first season of Game of Thrones used various parts of the fort to represent The Red Keep.