The noon gun is a remarkable achievment of the Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna. (The Malta Heritage Trust) The re-establishment of the noon day gun is just one of the dozen or so projects which the FWA is doing to glorify Malta's wonderful past. This gun platform was purpose built some 300 years ago, and juts out over the Grand Harbour just under the Baraka Gardens. They now have 7 guns (of which only one is actually used), and eventually the saluting battery will contain its original compliment of 11 guns! I can hardly wait to see them all in use to salute some Monarch or another.
Here we are in front of the magnificent carved doors of the Palace. The Palace is of course, no longer used for the Grand Master of the Order of St. John (he is in Rome ever since Napolion booted him out of Malta) nor is it the residence of the Governor General of Britain since the Maltese booted HIM out in the '60s. Now of course, the palace makes up the legislative chambers of the Republic. A fine, fine turn of events!
The FWA raises money by allowing members of the public to participate in the drill and firing of the howitzer. This is the only example of this particular model howitzer left in the world, and the FWA did a remarkable job in recovering and restoring it. No, it doesn't hurt it to fire these small charges, but they look fantastic. Bill wasn't quite sure what to do when I bought him a spot on the line. The "soldiers" are all FWA personnel, amazing gentlemen who sweat in the sun in authentic uniforms. I am, as usual, amazed at their dedication.
When you go through the fancy carved door depicted above, you come into a courtyard with a stunning clock tower on its east wall. If it wasn't for the construction on the other side of the palace requiring visitors to cut through the courtyard to get to the Palace Armoury, we probably would never get to see this pretty little courtyard. By now, of course, the road work is probably all done, and the little area with its lush vegetation and magnificent architecture will be closed off to the public, and go back to being the private place for the lawmakers, movers and shakers of Malta.