Santas Toy Town
Santas Toy Town
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Bus numbers 13, 14, 16 from Valletta
Pembroke is located in the Eastern part of Malta, surrounded by St. Julian’s, Swieqi and Bahar ic-Caghaq. It has an area of 2.3 km2 and it is just 6km away from Valletta. The town got its name after the 12th Earl of Pembroke and British Secretary of War in 1859. The Coat of Arms reflects the association with military; two gold crossed swords surrounded by the 13 watchtowers built by Grandmaster De Redin on a red background. Pembroke find its origins during the time of the Knights, who built two Watchtowers on the coast, serving to defend the Grand Harbour. However, it was the British ruling that developed the fortification of the town. The first barracks were constructed between 1859 and 1862 and were named for St. George – the patron of England. Other barracks were built later named for St. Patrick and St. Andrew – the patrons of Ireland and Scotland. Fort Pembroke was built in 1878 to defend both the Grand Harbour and the right side of the Victoria Lines, and Pembroke Battery was built in 1899 to serve the same purposes.
British regiments served in Pembroke with the last ones leaving in 1979. During World War II, German prisoners were confined here, during which time they built a small chapel. After 1979, the land used by the British was passed on to the Maltese Government and in the mid-1980s; the barracks were converted into private residences, the first residents settling in 1986. This makes Pembroke Malta’s newest town. Pembroke was declared a parish in 2004. The Parish Church is dedicated to the Resurrection of Christ; however, on the contrary to rest of Malta, Pembroke does not celebrate the village festa.
In Pembroke, you can find a large expanse of karst, the only part left in Malta. Endangered plants are found in the area, amongst which are the Thorny Salad-Burnet and Aleppo Pines. There are three watercourses in the area, the most famous one being Wied Harq Hamiem leading to St George's Bay. The military heritage is kept alive as many buildings built by the British still stand today. The Military Cemetery commemorates fatalities resulting from the Second World War. The cemetery is open Mondays to Friday.
Things to see and do:
The Pembroke Clock Tower: It was built in 1903 as part of the Old Guard Room. It is the highest point of Pembroke and serves as a landmark and meeting place.
Fort Pembroke: Fort Pembroke was built after in December 1879 to defend the Grand Harbour and the Victoria Lines. Today, Fort Pembroke is used for educational purposes, housing the Verdala International School.
Pembroke Battery: Pembroke Battery was built between 1909 and 1912, a short distance away from Fort Pembroke. The battery was armed with two 9.2 inch BL MK X guns abreast of each other, each having a 180 degree arc of fire. In the mid 1980’s part of this battery was destroyed to make way for housing development. Restorations are underway to transform the Battery into a Museum.
Pembroke Ex-Rifle and Pistol Ranges: These ranges are situated next to the coast, in an area that has superb scenic and ecological value. These ranges are still being used by the Armed Forces of Malta for training purposes.
Harq Hamiem Valley: This valley takes you from the entry to Pembroke all the way down to St. George’s Bay. About 400 plant species grow along this valley, making it a significant ecological site.
Madliena Tower: This tower looking over Bahar ic-Caghaq was built in 1658 by Grandmaster De Redin. In the 19th it was modified by the British Empire to house a 64-pdr RML Gun to defend the neighbouring coast and the Victoria Lines.