The Maltese Ghost is often referred to as "il-ħares" (pl. "iħirsa"), perhaps a relative of the Roman "Lares" (household gods). The legends states that once, a "ħares" in the form of a Turk, awakened a workman at Fort Ricasoli and informed him of a big treasure within the fort's area. This workman told one of his colleagues and together they went to look at the indicated spot. They found a lot of coal coins. As in other local folk tales the coins were turned to coal. The following night the "ħares" reappeared and beat up the workman for sharing the secret. The moral of this legend is: What the "ħares" tells you is for your eyes only!
History of Fort Ricasoli
This Legend occurs in Fort Ricasoli which is a large fortification on the island of Malta. The fort was built by the Knights of Malta between 1670 and 1693 and designed by the Italian military engineer Antonio Maurizio Valperga, as part of Grand Master Nicholas Cottoner's extensive fortifications around Grand Harbour. The fort is named after the knight who financed a large part of the works, Fra Giovanni Francesco Ricasoli
The Fort continued to be an active military installation throughout the British period.
It was the scene of a mutiny in 1807 when Sicilian soldiers of the Froberg Regiment revolted and shut themselves up in Fort Ricasoli. Despite attempts at negotiation they eventually blew up the powder magazine. The mutiny was quashed by loyal troops, and 30 mutineers were condemned to death by court martial.
Fort Ricasoli was active in the defence of Malta during the second World War. Structural alterations and additional gun emplacements on the seaward bastion bear witness to its continued use and evolution as a military installation.The fort suffered significant damage from enemy action in the siege of Malta during World War II, when much of the internal structure was badly damaged. The gate has been rebuilt, but the internal buildings including the Governor's House have been lost.
Today the fort faces a much bigger threat from the relentless onslaught of the sea. The fort is threatened by erosion from seaward, where a fault in the headland on which it stands is being eroded by the sea.
During the tenure of the British military, the bastion was substantially repaired, with the outer surface being cut back and new stone facing applied. This too is now eroding badly and in 2004 a section 100 metres long by 13 metres high was removed, restored and re-attached. Parts of the fort are still viewed as being in a dangerous condition
The fort and its environs have been used extensively as a location for various films and serials.
In recent years, huge sets were built within its walls for the films Agora, Troy and Gladiator. Helen of Troy and Julius Caesar had also had sets built inside Fort Ricasoli. HBO's adaptation of George R R Martin's A Game of Thrones used various parts of the fort to represent the Red Keep.
Visiting Fort Ricasoli
A bus stop is located about 50meters outside Le Meridien St Julians Hotel & Spa. To get to Fort Ricasoli one should take bus number 12 or 13 to Valletta. Once in Valletta change buses and take bus number 3 to Kalkara. Fort Ricasoli can be located in Gallows Point, Kalkara - Malta
With a Taxi service you will arrive directly at the Fort