Above the balcony door high on Selmun Palace, try to make out a letter “R” carved into the stone. This signifies the Monte della Redenzione degli Schiavi, a fund set up in 1607 for the redemption of people captured and taken into slavery on the surrounding seas. This fund eventually financed the construction of Selmun Palace, a unique castle tower of pale stone that looms silently over the whole Mistra Valley.
Selmun Palace might look like a fortress, but it was originally built in the early 18th century as a luxurious knight’s lodge for hunting and recreation. This part of Malta has a long history of being attacked by seagoing marauders, so designing buildings to look imposing and withstand violence was common.
This palace has quite an interesting façade, with curved details above the doors and shapes set against an imposing blocky frame. The semi-fortified villa resembles the style of the palace in Verdala, which is farther south. Look up at four turrets that top the main two-story tower. A small detailed balcony runs all around the front above the large wooden doors and round window. Wander around the outside and imagine the knights hunting rabbits on these hills and constantly observing the coastline.
While remaining a window into one interesting chapter of Malta’s history, the tower and the sprawling walled courtyard behind it now also serve a modern purpose as a hotel and function center, particularly popular for weddings. Stay here and enjoy the swimming pool in the courtyard, decorated by palm trees. The interior has been renovated.
Selmun Palace stands in Selmun, a little hamlet outside the town of Mellieħa. Its countryside is perfect for exploring on foot at your own pace. Use the palace as a starting point for a walking tour that will take you past traditional local farmhouses and allow views of the mysterious and uninhabited Islands of St. Paul to the east. Keep going to reach the huge cliffs that overlook Selmun Bay.