In 1998 the upper part of Fort St Angelo, on the other side of the Grand Harbour from Valletta, was handed over by the Maltese government to the Order of St John for a period of 99 years in an effort to find the finances to restore the fort. Unfortunately the money needed has so far eluded the present incumbents and Fort St Angelo is still crying out for some tender loving care.
The Australian's Angela Shanahan writes of Fra John Cretien's plans for Fort St Angelo:
"Grinding out yet another cigarette on the ancient battlements, he casually remarks he is considering a plan to convert part of it into retirement units for old knights or perhaps a spa for the Euro-rich who moor their yachts in the walled seclusion of Valletta harbour.
"Anyway, whatever we do with St Angelo, it must be in keeping with the charitable spirit of the order, which has morphed into a huge international aid organisation, and hopefully make a bit of money for our present-day work," he says.
Some of the Australian lay knights who have accompanied me on the climb to the bastion look faintly appalled. The knights built Valletta in 1530 after their expulsion from Rhodes and it was from the battlements of St Angelo that they famously repelled the Turkish invasion fleet. In fact, originally they were reluctant to administer Malta, describing it as a barren rocky place, with a bad water supply and people who spoke a form of Arabic."
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