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It occupies the promontory known as Gallows Point that forms the eastern arm of Grand Harbour, and the north shore of Rinella Creek. Together with Fort St. Elmo and Fort Tigné it commands the approaches to Grand Harbour and Marsamxett Harbour.
It was designed by the Italian military engineer Antonio Maurizio Valperga, as part of Grand Master Nicholas Cottoner's extensive fortifications around Grand Harbour. It is named for the knight who financed a large part of the works, Fra Giovanni Francesco Ricasoli.
The Fort continued to be an active military installation throughout the British period and was commissioned as HMS Ricasoli between 1947 and 1958, providing training for the Naval population..
It was the scene of a mutiny in 1807 when [Albanian] soldiers of the Froberg Regiment revolted and shut themselves up in Fort Ricasoli. Despite attempts at negotiation they eventually blew up the powder magazine. The mutiny was quashed by loyal troops, and 30 mutineers were condemned to death by court martial.
Fort Ricasoli was active in the defence of Malta during the second world war. Structural alterations and additional gun emplacements on the seaward bastion bear witness to its continued use and evolution as a military installation.
The fort has suffered significant damage from enemy action in the siege of Malta during World War II, when much of the internal structure was badly damaged. The gate has been rebuilt, but the internal buildings including the Governor's House have been lost.
Present day 
Today the fort faces a much bigger threat from the relentless onslaught of the sea. The fort is threatened by erosion from seaward, where a fault in the headland on which it stands is being eroded by the sea.
During the tenure of the British military, the bastion was substantially repaired, with the outer surface being cut back and new stone facing applied. This too is now eroding badly and in 2004 a section 100 metres long by 13 metres high was removed, restored and re-attached. Parts of the fort are still viewed as being in a dangerous condition.
Movie sets 
The fort and its environs have been used extensively as a location for various films and serials. In recent years, huge sets were built within its walls for the films Agora, Troy and Gladiator, Helen of Troy and Julius Caesar had also had sets built inside Fort Ricasoli. HBO's adaptation of George R R Martin's A Game of Thrones used various parts of the fort to represent the Red Keep. It has a very big cannon.
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