Mellieħa ([məˈliːhə], or il-Mellieħa) is a large village (pop. 7,221 in Dec 2008) in the northwestern part of Malta. It is a popular tourist destination during the summer months. Mellieħa as a village developed under British colonization after the British encouraged people to settle in the area by giving leases to the population. For two centuries previously, the area was abandoned due to fear from attacks of corsairs and Saracens. Before that, only a few villagers lived in the area.
A watchtower is a type of fortification used in many parts of the world. It differs from a regular tower in that its primary use is military, and from a turret in that it is usually a freestanding structure. Its main purpose is to provide a high, safe place from which a sentinel or guard may observe the surrounding area. In some cases, non-military towers, such as religious pagodas, may also be used as watchtowers.
An example of nonmilitary watchtower in history is the one of Jerusalem. Though the Hebrews used it to keep a watch for approaching armies, the religious authorities forbade the taking of weapons up into the tower as this would require bringing weapons through the temple. Rebuilt by King Herod, that watchtower was renamed after Mark Antony, his friend who battled against Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus (later Augustus) and lost.
The Romans built numerous towers as part of a system of communications, one example being the towers along Hadrian's Wall in Britain. Each tower was in sight of the next in the line, and a simple system of semaphore signalling was used between them. They also built many lighthouses, such as the Tower of Hercules in northern Spain, which survives to this day as a working building, and the equally famous lighthouse at Dover Castle, which survives to about half its original height as a ruin. In medieval Europe, many castles and manor houses, or similar fortified buildings, were equipped with watchtowers. In some of the manor houses of western France, the watchtower equipped with arrow or gun loopholes was one of the principal means of defense. A feudal lord could keep watch over his domain from the top of his tower.