Restoration and conservation works have commenced on a number of projects in 15 different parishes in Malta with a capital investment of €2.2 million, co-financed by the European funds. This was announced during a press conference earlier today in front of the Naxxar Parish Church, addressed by the Administrative Secretary of the Archdiocese of Malta Michael Pace Ross and the Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds and Social Dialogue Aaron Farrugia.
During the conference, it was explained that during the past three years the façades of churches, chapels, belfries, painings and other artworks were restored with the aim of preserving religious heritage such that it may be enjoyed by future generations.
Michael Pace Ross, while expressing satisfaction for the work carried out to obtain the EU funds, said that through this extensive conservation project a number of works of art are to be restored for the benefit of the public. He mentioned Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna’s appeal to appreciate the sacrifices of our forefathers who expressed their faith through the religious heritage which we have today, and the responsibility to pass on this heritage to future generations. Pace Ross said that the funds which were used for the restoration and the conservation of the cultural heritage are an investment in Maltese identity.
Aaron Farrugia said that EU-funded projects such as this one are strengthening the concept of community in our country, as well as protecting cultural heritage and improving Malta’s touristic product. He said that the number of tourists visiting these sites is expected to increase by nearly two hundred thousand by 2023. Farrugia said that over €80 million in Regional funds is being invested in the conservation and promotion of our country’s heritage, as well as recognising the touristic potential of heritage in locations which are outside the typical touristic zones. Therefore, while we we investing in significant projects such ad the regeneration of the Grandmaster’s Palace, the Manoel Theatre, and Muza, we are also appreciating the value of other ‘niche’ tourists.
The parishes which are benefitting from the European Regional Development Fund 2014-2020 are: Birkirkara (St. Mary and St. Helen), Ħ’Attard, Ħad-Dingli, Ħal Balzan, Ħal Għargħur, Ħal Tarxien, il-Mellieħa, il-Mosta (inkluż il-Bidnija), in-Naxxar, ir-Rabat, l-Imdina, l-Imġarr, Marsaxlokk u Raħal Ġdid (Kristu Re).
Through the use of EU funds, a museum will be created in the rooms which are part of the Visitor’s Lodge in the Sanctuary sqaure in Mellieha. The archives in the Archbishop’s Curia in Floriana will also be restored, and a study on the Parocial Church of St. Mary in Birkirkara will take place in order to determine whether an intervention will be neccessary.
The wide-scale restoration and conservation project in a number of parishes will also be offering a unique experience to visitors snd tourists through the creation of a heritage trail which connects these sites according to the zone in which they are located in.