The Saluting Battery is one of the most popular places to see in Valetta. Situated in the bastions below the Upper Barraka Gardens, along Valetta’s eastern ramparts, this place brings history to life every day at 12:00 and 16:00 with its guns shooting in air. Occupying the most strategic place of the Grand Harbour, the Battery makes integral part of the city fortifications, building of which was started in far away 1566, almost right after the Great Siege.
Being situated at this dramatic location guns battery protected Valetta from naval attacks for centuries. The arsenal of guns was often changed. It was replenished or reduced, depending on the periods of history. This place even remembers times when only one gun stayed at the post while all the others were taken to protect coastal territories. These were tough days of the World War II. In general the 20th century brought the Saluting Battery numerous severities and only the beginning of 2000s came with its renovation project.
In 2004 the Malta Heritage Trust finished restoration of the Battery. The project was funded by the Malta Tourism Authority and the Bank of Valetta. On the 1st May, 2004, after 81 years of gun shooting lull, the old tradition of the Noon-day gun firing came back. In 2013 the evening gun shots were also renewed.
The tradition of mid-day shooting has long history and locals hardly can imagine that it could be forgotten. Beginning with 1820 the mid-day gun-salute became an everyday habit. Firstly, it was necessary for ship masters who calibrated their chronographs according to the sound of shooting. Secondly, the signals regulated life pace of the city.
Today one can hear gun shooting from day to day. State or religious feasts or coming of cruise liners into the Harbour are marked with special shooting. Tourists can visit the Battery every day, independently or with guided tours. There is small open-air museum at the battery were numerous gun equipment, cannon cores and cannon miniatures are exhibited. Visitors have a chance to listen or read about the island’s history and attempts to capture it. And as to the eight working replicas of SBBL 32 pounders, which were placed at the Battery Street after the final restoration in 2011, they will meet the visitors at the showplace open-air location which also has just wonderful Mediterranean Sea sight.