On Monday 18th April, which is Easter Monday and UNESCO’s International Day for Monuments and Sites, Heritage Malta will once again offer the public the opportunity to visit the Main Guard building in Valletta.
This unique building has lately undergone extensive restoration and conservation works, through which a new lease of life has been given to the hundreds of small paintings adorning the walls of the room which used to be the Officers’ Mess. Visitors will be able to meet conservators and ask them questions. In the afternoon, military expert Denis Darmanin will also be present to provide further insight on this historical building.
The Main Guard was probably built towards the beginning of the 17th century by Grandmaster Alof de Wignacourt to serve as quarters for the guards of the Grandmaster’s Palace, just across the square. This function was retained for more than 350 years, until the early 1970s.
During British rule, hundreds of pictures were painted on the Main Guard walls, mostly in the Officers’ Mess, where the guards ate and rested between shifts. Painting was one of these soldiers’ pastimes, and in fact there are over 300 pictures, some of which were recently discovered during conservation and restoration works.
On the 18th of April the Main Guard will be open from 10.00am till 4.00pm. The admission fee is €2 for adults, seniors and students. Heritage Malta members and children under 11 will be admitted free of charge. Tickets will only be available at the door.
The following sites and museums, which are usually closed on Monday, will also be open on the 18th of April: Ġgantija Temples, Ta’ Kola Windmill, the National Museum of Archaeology, MUŻA, Fort St Elmo, Fort St Angelo, Tarxien Temples, Ħaġar Qim and St Paul’s Catacombs.