Head back to Malta’s wartime years

Lascaris War Rooms in Valletta became integral during the Battle for Malta in the early 1940s and were later used by NATO to track Soviet submarines in the Mediterranean.
Lascaris War Rooms in Valletta.

In years gone by, Malta’s strategic location at the heart of the Mediterranean has been both a blessing and a curse. During World War II, in fact, the Islands became some of the most bombed places on Earth as the Axis fought to take control. The Lascaris War Rooms stand testament to that legacy, and tell Malta’s wartime story like nowhere else. 

Situated close to Lascaris Battery, which was named after Grandmaster Lascaris, the Lascaris War Rooms are a complex of once-secret, underground tunnels that housed the three main anti-aerial attack services. That’s why visitors can enter rooms that were used as the Navy Plotting Room, the Anti-Aircraft Guns Operations Room, the Coast Defence Room, and the Filter Room. These rooms became integral to Allies, with General Eisenhower and his supreme commanders directing Operation Husky, now known as the Allied Invasion of Sicily, from there.

These rooms remained secret and in use until 1977, but they played a role in some major historical events. These include the Suez Crises of 1956 and the Cuban Missle Crisis of 1962; not to mention that they were used by NATO for 10 years as a Communication Centre that allowed them to monitor Societ submarine activity in the Mediterranean. 

It’s quite amazing to think that these rooms, which were once much smaller and served as slave quarters during the time of the Knights, have been so integral to both our history and that of Europe as a whole.

They are now run by Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna and are open from 10am to 4.30pm every day apart from Sunday, with two guided tours offered daily at 10.30am and 1pm. Tickets cost €14 for adults, €12 for seniors, and €7 for children aged up to 16, or €17 per person for the guided tours. Tickets can be bought directly from the official site.

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