Description Fort St Elmo was built in 1552 as a direct reaction to the Turkish corsair razzia of the previous year. It was designed to control the entrances to both the Grand Harbour and that of Marsamxett. So acute was the sense of urgency that the fort was built and completed in less than six months. This excessive haste, however, soon began to manifest itself in a number of serious defects inherent both in the design of the fort and in the choice of its location. Consequently, considerable effort had to be reinvested to remedy these faults, which by 1565, had actually involved the addition of a large detached triangular cavalier, a ravelin, and a few other hastily built outerworks. During the Great Siege of 1565, Fort St Elmo received the initial brunt of the Turkish attack, and it was its stubborn and lengthy resistance that proved to be the turning point of the Turkish defeat. In the aftermath of the siege, Fort St Elmo was quickly rebuilt, but with the foundation of the new enceinte of Valletta, particularly after the fort was enclosed with a vast apron of bastions - known as the Carafa bastions and built during the 1680s - its role was eventually changed to that of a keep of the new fortress.The British, in 1800, immediately realized the importance of this fort to the security of the harbour and continued to invest in its defences, upgrading both its armament and its resistance to bombardment. The drawings show Fort St Elmo, and its development, during the Hospitaller period.
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