Throughout the years Delimara Lighthouse located at Delimara cliff edge acted as a beacon to the Maltese shipping industry. Apart from its splendid location, perhaps the most distinguishing feature of the Delimara lighthouse is that it is the only one in Malta to be equipped with the unique Fresnel Lens.
The name Delimara may be a corruption of the term "dejr l-imnara" which literally means "the house of the lantern". Delimara lighthouse building consists of an octagonal 22m tower with a two storey house under it and is considered as a landmark of British architecture.
The history of the lighthouse starts in 1850, during the time of British rule on Malta, when governor Sir Richard More O’Ferrall commissioned the building of another lighthouse at Delimara. The opening of the Suez Canal was to bring an increase in maritime traffic from North Africa, and there was need of a beacon on Malta’s southernmost tip to guide vessels safely into Grand Harbour.
The initial light system produced a constant red light, using lamps powered by olive oil. This was replaced in 1896 by a rotating optic system, which used a rotating table coupled with a Fresnel lens to produce an alternating red and white flash every 30 seconds. The apparatus was powered by a weight slowly descending from the lantern room, which drove a clockwork mechanism turning the table at a set rotation. It was lit using lamps powered by paraffin, which was stored in a copper tank with ornate brass fittings. Its arc of visibility ranged from 19° to 295° with a radius spreading up to 15 miles.
Delimara lighthouse changed its look in in 1950 because of a problem that mariners could not easily locate the position of the lighthouse during daytime. That's why, it was decided to paint the tower in black and white stripes for mariners to recognize it from afar.
The lighthouse stopped functioning in 1985, was decommissioned soon after and stood abandoned more than a century. Only in 2014 Delimara lighthouse undergone massive restoration which included repairing damage to the walls, roof, tower and lantern mechanism of the unique Fresnel lens. After it the Delimara lighthouse keeper’s accommodations have been beautifully transformed into two delightful apartments available for tourists to let.