Malta is indisputably a jewel of the Mediterranean.
Millions from every corner of the world flock over to experience the island’s rich history through its food, culture, language and of course, its distinct architecture.
It is therefore our duty as citizens to make sure that Malta’s unique features are preserved for generations to come. But it does take considerable money to do so.
Luckily, local consortium MIDI took it in their stride to preserve our architectural heritage, embarking on one of the largest private investment restoration projects Malta has ever seen, all for the benefit of children of the future.
In two decades, it spearheaded the revitalisation of centuries-old sites on Manoel Island and Tigné, pouring in over €21 million to get them back to their former glory.
Since the start of the millennium, the investment project breathed life into a number of magnificent landmarks like Fort Manoel, Fort Tigné, Tigné Barracks, and the Garden battery through intensive studies, planning and conservation work by a team of experts.
Watch which historical landmarks have been restored thanks to MIDI.
1. It all began with St. Luke Garrison’s Chapel at Tignè
The foundation stones of this holy place date back to over a century ago, in 1910. The chapel was extensively damaged in World War Two but continued to be used by the British Forces until they left Malta.
It’s hosted cultural events, rock concerts and even a venue for Tai Chi training and ballroom dancing.
Then, after laborious restoration in 2003, it served as MIDI’s Sales Office. Now it serves as an office for a local maritime and hospitality company.
2. The iconic Fort Manoel and Barracks
It’s the closest landmark to catch your eye when looking out from Valletta, but it’s been left to rot after years of neglect, vandalism and a lack of restoration funds. Luckily, when MIDI took over the mammoth project, the star-shaped fort was given the attention it needed to bask in the Baroque glory it once radiated in the 16th century.
It’s preserved Couvre Porte or gateway stands proudly overlooking the capital while the restored quadrangle, parade ground, barracks and Polversita can be enjoyed by anyone who appreciates beauty.
3. The laborious work at the Chapel of St. Anthony of Padua
The chapel of St. Anthony of Padua was constructed at the heart of Fort Manoel in 1727. It was built in an eclectic Baroque style with a small dome, classical façade, two niches and four grand Ionic columns.
Unfortunately, it was severely damaged by aerial bombardment in 1942. Now, parts of the chapel were reconstructed and restoration was completed in 2007.
4. The Funerary Chapel
This ancient chapel has now been restored along with cattle shed where livestock used to be kept in quarantine.
These precious artefacts of history would have been in danger of total collapse if it weren’t for the dedication of MIDI.
5. Fort Tigné and barracks
The 18th-century barracks of Tigné and its fort are also getting their own TLC. When the once-abandoned ruins are completed, they will serve as a hub for cultural and commercial activities.
The Sliema fortification itself has been on Malta’s tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1998, as part of the Knights’ Fortifications around Malta’s famous harbours.
6. The Garden Battery
Finally, we have Tigné’s Garden Battery. Built by the British in 1889 as an artillery battery, it was rediscovered during excavation works at Tigne Point. A decision was taken to retain and preserve the battery and integrate into the development. (And we’re so glad they did).
Our past is precious, and the MIDI consortium understood that. Historic sites like Fort Manoel and Fort Tigné helps keep communities distinct, vibrant connects people with their past, and with one another. Malta’s historic buildings provide a tangible link with the past for future generations.