|Ta’ Sopu Watchtower is a small watchtower situated on the cliff between San Blas and Daħlet Qorrot in Nadur, Gozo, Malta.|
|Who built this watchtower? And when was it built?
Ta’ Sopu Watchtower was built by the Order of Saint John in 1667 during the reign of Grandmaster Nicolas Cotoner at the expense of the Universitas Gaudisii (Universitas of Gozo). The latter paid for its garrison, but artillery was supplied by the Order of Saint John itself. The tower is square in shape, and the design is identical to the Xlendi Tower and Dwejra Tower.
|What exactly are the four escutcheons on the main doorway?
The walls of Ta’ Sopu Watchtower are thick with inward slopes. The watchtower has a high barrel vault with the middle floor resting on rib arches. A spiral staircase provides access to the various floors. The main doorway has four escutcheons with coats of arms of the Order of Saint John, the Universitas Gaudisii, the personal arms of Grandmaster Cotoner, as well as those of the Governor of Gozo.
|Was the artillery on this watchtower ever used?
By 1785 Ta’ Sopu Watchtower was not permanently manned, but in 1792 it was rearmed with four 6-pounder iron guns. On the 10th of June 1798, French Revolutionary Troops led by Napoleon Bonaparte, invaded the island of Gozo, landing within shooting distance of Ta’ Sopu Watchtower. It was the only small coastal watchtower which actually tried to resist the French invasion of 1798 when it fired its guns on the approaching French fleet.
|How many watchtowers are there on Gozo?
Ta’ Sopu Watchtower is one of four surviving towers on Gozo, with the others being Xlendi Tower, Dwejra Tower and Mġarr ix-Xini Tower. It was the last watchtower to be built in Malta, apart from the fortifications of the 18th century (such as St Anthony’s Battery In Qala, Gozo).
|Can I enter inside this watchtower?
Nowadays, Ta’ Sopu Watchtower is open for visitors on three Sundays in every month, but plans are underway to convert it into a visitor centre as part of a nature trail in the area. The area around the tower has been designated as a special conservation area.
|When was this watchtower restored?
By the early 21st century, Ta’ Sopu Watchtower was in a state of disrepair. Parts of it had weathered while most of the interior had already collapsed. The tower was restored by Din l-Art Ħelwa and the Nadur Local Council between 2003 and 2006. The spiral staircase was completely rebuilt from scratch, as were the roof and most of the interior. Only one of the original arches had survived, and it was used as a model on which to rebuild the roof. The restored tower was reopened on 20 August 2006.