Manoel (Maltese name: Il-Gzira Manoel) is a small island in Malta, which is part of the city of Gzira and is located in the harbor of Marsamsetta, near the capital of Malta - the city of Valletta (Belt Valletta).
Previously, the island was known as Bishop's Island (Il-Gżira tal-Isqof / l'Isola del Vescovo) or Isolotto (Isolotto).
The name "Manoel" was given to the island in honor of the Portuguese Grand Master of the Order of Hospitallers and military commander Antonio Manoel de Vilhena, who built a fort on the island.
Manoel Island has a flat terrain and an area of 0.30 square kilometers. The highest point of the island is at an altitude of 251 meters above sea level.
The island of Manoel is connected to the city of Gzira (the island of Malta) by a bridge, which is a roadway and pedestrian.
Today, the island of Manoel can be visited by anyone. Admission is free (free of charge).
There are no official beaches on the island, but those who want to swim almost everywhere, where they can find a more or less convenient place. The coast of the island is rocky and rocky.
The island offers beautiful views of the harbor of Marsamsetta, as well as the cities of Valletta, Gzira and Slim (Tas-Sliema).
On the island of Manoel there is a yacht marina with boat rental (Manoel Island Yacht Marina Ltd) and there is a shelter for ducks and other waterfowl Duck Village (Duck Village).
The main attraction of the island is Fort Manoel (Forti Manoel or Fortizza Manoel), which was erected in the period from 1723 to 1733 by order of the Grand Master of the Order of St. John - Antonio Manoel de Villena.
After a brief French occupation that began in 1798, the British military captured the fort in 1800 and used it until 1964. The fort was severely damaged during World War II. It was restored at the beginning of the 21st century and is now in fairly good condition.
This fort is known primarily as the filming location of the climactic scene of Baylor, the ninth episode of the series "Game of Thrones" in 2011.
There is also a legend that a Black Knight lives in the fort, who wears the armor and regalia of the Order of St. John and resembles the Grand Master de Villena. In the 1940s, the knight began to appear out of thin air near the ruins of the chapel of St. Anthony of Padua, which was bombed during World War II. Reportedly, the Maltese and the British saw the ghost in the fort. And when the workers began to clear the rubble of the destroyed chapel, it was rumored that the knight was watching their work. When the crypt under the chapel was opened, it turned out that it had been vandalized, and the remains of the knights buried there were scattered around. After the restoration of the crypt and the reburial of the bones, the Black Knight stopped appearing. In 1980, after the crypt was vandalized again, people began to see the ghost of the Black Knight again, who, they say, from time to time watches the guests of the fort today.
The fort is open to visitors several times a year. Also, festivals and some events are sometimes held on its territory.
You can visit the fort with a free tour and by appointment. Website of free excursions: maltafreetour.
Another famous attraction of the island of Manoel is Lazaretto (Lazzarett), which was built from the 17th century after the outbreak of the plague and was used as a quarantine hospital.
Lazzaretto was also used as a hospital, and during the plague epidemic of 1813-1814, the cholera epidemic of 1865 and the plague epidemic of 1937. It also served as a military hospital for the British, French and Italians.
The Lazaretto was destroyed during the Second World War, after it was abandoned.
The Lazaretto consists of a complex of buildings, the oldest surviving of which dates back to 1643 and is a two-story structure known as Palazzo Vecchio (Old Palace, Palazzo Vecchio), also known as Palazzo Grande (Grand Palace, Palazzo Grande) or simply Palazzo (Palace, il-Palazz). The structure consists of eight halls built around a central courtyard.
The complex also includes a building known as the New Palace, which was built in stages between the 1670s and the beginning of the 18th century. It consists of warehouses built around two courtyards, and the facade facing the sea contains a number of high arches.
In the 18th century, the so-called Pest House was built near the Old Palace, where plague patients were isolated. Also, a number of sheds were erected nearby to keep animals in quarantine. The pest house was demolished to make way for a disinfection station, and the stables were destroyed during the war.
The entire Lazzaretto complex was surrounded by a high wall to prevent people from escaping. There were six cemeteries in the area, but only one still exists.
On the territory of Lazzaretto you can find a number of historical graffiti, the earliest of which are dated 1681, and the last - 1947.
Photo of Manoel Island
Manoel Island on the map
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