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“Where did the day go?” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Fort Rinella

Fort Rinella
Ranked #1 of 3 things to do in Kalkara
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Fort Rinella in Kalkara,was built in 1878. This fort is not only a unique remnant of Malta's recent British colonial past, but it is also the world's first mechanical fort which enabled its small garrison to fire a monstrous 100-ton gun every six minutes. To be able to do this, the fort was equipped with a novel steam-driven hydraulic set-up that enabled the gun to traverse and depress and its ammunition to be hoisted and loaded mechanically. On visiting this fort in 1889, the great French writer Jules Verne described it as a marvel of the industrial age which would render Malta safe for ever. Some say that this is the place from where he got the idea of writing his famous novel a 'Voyage to the Moon', where a man is stuffed into a large projectile and fired from a large gun onto the moon!Originally, the 100-ton gun was built by Sir William George Armstrong of Newcastle in 1878, to equip a new class of Italian battleships - the Duilio class. This caused a serious stir between Britain and Italy which led to the former to obtain examples of the same gun to secure Malta and Gibraltar against a potential Italian seaborne attack.The Armstrong 100-ton gun has a calibre of 17.72-Inches (45cm). It is 35 feet long and has an overall weight of 156 tons making it the world's largest muzzle-loading cannon ever built. It used a quarter of a ton of gun powder to propel its monster shells up to a maximum range of eight miles. At that range it could pierce anything up to 21-inches of ship armour! The gun at Fort Rinella and another at Napier of Magdala Battery in Gibraltar are the sole surving examples today. The fort has recently undergone extensive restoration and improvement. A new 20-minute audio-visual outlining the history of the fort and its gun has also been added and is included in all guided tours.RE-Live History at Fort Rinella - Every afternoon from Monday to Saturday!Throughout the year, from Monday to Saturday at 14.00Hrs sharp, Fort Rinella is brought back to life complete with late 19th century Victorian soldiers who will take visitors on an animated tour around the fort. This tour combines excellent guiding with live and colourful historical re-enacting including military signalling, firing of rifles, bayonet practice, military cooking and more. Much use of original period equipment and weapons is made throughout this tour. All this goes to provide an enjoyable and long lasting experience to visitors.
Useful Information: Food available for purchase
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
190 reviews
113 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 155 helpful votes
“Where did the day go?”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 12, 2013

I only went here because it was included on the multisite pass I purchased at Lascaris War Rooms. Although that and the shelters at the Malta at War Museum had been high on my Malta to do list, I didn't expect to enjoy Fort Rinella much because guns hold little appeal for me. However, the people running the site made their presentations with such enthusiasm that I couldn't tear myself away.

The Fort Rinella reenactors pride themselves on running things as authentically as possible, which includes performing the tasks and drills that would have taken up a soldier's day. After looking around the site and watching the video in the morning, I figured I would leave after the first presentation, but who knew signaling could be so interesting? Then I decided to leave after the next presentation, only it turned out to be so fascinating that I just had to do one more. And so on. The presentations lasted about 20 minutes (live demo, short talk, then Q & A) followed by a break of 5 - 15 minutes before the next one. This ran all the way up until lunchtime after which came the reenactment with live firing of guns after which there is a horsemanship display followed by a guided tour of the fort's defenses. All talks are in English, but an audio guide is available in several languages.

The gentlemen who serve as reenactors have infectious enthusiasm, but they also have great knowledge about the technological and tactical developments through history that led up to Fort Rinella. They're also friendly and charming when "off duty" in between sessions. It's like they're thrilled to see people express an interest in their baby. They're quite proud of what they've done there, as they should be.

One thing not noted in their literature (or at least not prominently) is that a ticket to Fort Rinella is good for a week. This gives visitors a chance to have the full experience broken up over a couple of days, although it's possible to do it all in one day as I did (though it certainly wasn't my plan). If you want to do the full day, there is a small cafe where you can grab lunch. The menu isn't large, but prices are very reasonable and the food will keep you full.

Presentations are all outdoors with limited shade, so plan accordingly. There are some things to see indoors including a 20-minute video about Fort Rinella's history. Unfortunately, indoor areas are not fully accessible to the mobility impaired. Most indoor areas including the video are downstairs. If you can handle one flight of stairs, you should be okay, though the floor is uneven in spots. Most downstairs areas are well lit. Most outside areas are paved but some spots are very dusty -- choose good footwear for the terrain.

In terms of value for money, this is the best thing I've done in nearly six weeks in Malta -- and I have to say it's the most entertaining. I would recommend it to anyone, and I'll visit again if I ever return to Malta. If the full day is too much for you, try for later in the afternoon. You don't want to miss the tent pegging.

Visited June 2013
Helpful?
Thank LM606
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
yulius888, Custodian and guide of the FWA at Fort Rinella, responded to this review, August 21, 2013
Thank you LM606 for your good review and comment.

Of course we are really proud of what we have done in Fort Rinella and all our other sites. With the help of the volunteers and all the work everybody is doing, we are getting fantastic results as the 1st position on Tripadvisor for attractions in Malta.

The tickets for our attractions are valid for one week and also the multi-site ticket giving you access to all our four sites saving money, gives you access for an entire month to our sites.

We are improving a lot of things as the shade for the displays, now we've got more shade for the displays in the fort, for about 60 tourists, and at the arena, with the stadium for about 300 visitors, meaning we can provide with good conditions even for large events.

Obviously the modification of a historical property is quite difficult, but we are always giving the tourists the best experience possible, for that reason, some times even we have brought tourists with a wheel-chair down to the ammunition cambers on our own, trying to provide them with the entire experience. Obviously this cannot be done in all cases, but we are trying.

Thank you

Xulio Vazquez

Custodian and guide of the FWA
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Cambridge, United Kingdom
2 reviews
“Fort Rinella”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 12, 2013

What a great place to visit! We just popped along for a look last Saturday and ended up staying for the tour etc, most people here have explained what they do at the fort so I will not repeat it all but the 10 Euros to fire the 9” 1800’s Howitzer was worth every cent, what a rush! Over all the people who run the attraction are professional, courteous and very enthusiastic at what they do, a most interesting and fun afternoon, very well recommended!! Worth turning up at 1:30pm so you have half an hour to have a look around before the tour, horse riding, cannon firing and rifle demos etc. 10/10.

Visited June 2013
Helpful?
Thank Rob C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
yulius888, Custodian and guide of the FWA at Fort Rinella, responded to this review, August 6, 2013
Thanks Rob C for commenting and voting Fort Rinella
It is a pleasure always to have visitors when the want to be involved in bringing history alive, like with the firing of the Howizter, and also with that helping us a bit more with the restoration works.
Remember we do have re-enactments during he morning as well, signaling, swords and bayonets.

Thank you

Xulio Vazquez
Custodian and guide of the FWA
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newton Abbot, United Kingdom
2 reviews
“Fort Rinella”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 10, 2013

I visited late May 2013 arriving about 1.30pm on the number 3 bus from Valetta.I had watched the gun firing at the Saluting Gallery which was carried out by the same staff that demonstrate at Fort Rinella. The main demonstrations started at 2pm and consist of displays of drill,bayonet skills,a full range of blank firing of period muskets and rifles and lancers on horse back.Visitors are allowed for a small fee to fire the weapons or indeed pull the firing cord on a large cannon.
The whole experience was great and as you were very close to the action quite exciting.This attraction is suitable for all the family.

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
Thank Ian T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
yulius888, Custodian and guide of the FWA at Fort Rinella, responded to this review, August 6, 2013
Thank you Ian T for your support.
We are very pleased to have satisfied tourists like you. And it good that you've seen the firing at the Saluting Battery as well, because is one of the best attractions in Malta as well, and one of the most famous.

Thank you

Xulio Vazquez
Custodian and guide of the FWA
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sweden
Level Contributor
46 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Excellent, but check info before.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 6, 2013

We really enjoyed our visir here.
The staff was welcoming and shared a lot of intresting stories.

But before you go, check visiting info at their website, http://www.fortrinella.com/visitor-information.html , because we saw different time for the displays on several broschyres and posters. You really do not want to miss a display! Posters also said bus no 4, at our visit it was no 3...

Sundays is a bit difficult, buses only once an our (and not even that at our visit...) and in low season they do not make a full display if there are few visitors.

Our son, 1 year, loved to cuddle with the cat Princess and also likes the display.

My husband fired the Howitzer, 10 euro well spent :).

It was nice just to hang around also, talk to the staff, eat a bit and relax.

The same guys run the Saluting Battery in Valetta, with guided tours afterwards.

Visited June 2013
Helpful?
Thank Laponian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
yulius888, Custodian and guide of the FWA at Fort Rinella, responded to this review, August 6, 2013
Thank you Laponian for your comment and vote.
It is truth that is better if the tourists check the website before, even because some times we do have special events and maybe they can plan better the visit.
We are glad to say that finally, our old billboard at Birgu, with wrong information have been replaced for a new one last week, with completely right information.
We cannot be responsible of other publications or advertisements in other media that FWA is not managing, but right now, all the information in our control, is completely right.
And obviously is not in our hands the bus line. But we apologize about both and we'll keep complaining about, in fact right now they are working better than before.

Thank you

Xulio Vazquez
Custodian and guide of the FWA
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leeds, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
150 reviews
52 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
“I only came along for the ride but....”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 6, 2013

When my husband said the one thing I want to do is see the 100 tonne gun at Fort Rinella ladies you just imagine my thoughts. They were wrong it is the best attraction we have visited, reminded me of the English Heritage site and the displays we have been to there. The staff speak with passion and knowledge on guns, swords and warfare over a number of periods including reinactments with soldiers. The site itself is still being improved and more features added. A taste of life as it once was, excellent.
Thank you to all the staff who made us feel part of the day, my husband enjoyed firing a real Martini-Henry gun not something you get in most museum style attractions. We stayed over 5 hours, hope you enjoy yourselves as much as we did.

Visited June 2013
Helpful?
Thank Lou65a
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
yulius888, Custodian and guide of the FWA at Fort Rinella, responded to this review, August 6, 2013
Thank you very much Lou65a for supporting us on tripadvisor.
It is good to know that you have changed your feelings and thoughts about Fort Rinella after expending 5 hours with us and that it was a highlight while visiting Malta.
You are really welcome, we love tourists joining us bringing alive history, that is our mission, we are here as a channel between history sites and the tourists, giving them the opportunity of feeling the place and the environment.
It is truth that no in a lot of places you can fire an original piece of history coming from the 19th century, here we give you that and much more.

Xulio Vazquez
Custodian and guide of the FWA
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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