Fort Delimara is being given a new lease of life through cleansing and consolidation works that are not only enhancing its appearance but also enabling parts of the fort to regain their accessibility.
Minister Owen Bonnici, responsible for the National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government, visited the fort to be brought up to speed with the progress achieved so far. He was shown around by Heritage Malta’s Chief Executive, Noel Zammit, and other members of the agency’s top management.
Fort Delimara was built between 1876 and 1878 to defend the approaches to Marsaxlokk Harbour and is a classic example of a Victorian coastal fortification. Amongst other attractions, the fort still houses four of the original six 38-ton rifled muzzle loading guns which are the last surviving examples in the world, still on their carriages in their original casemate emplacements. The fort remained operational until 1956. It was later used as a farm for more than 25 years, until it was placed under Heritage Malta’s protection in 2005.
During the past year, extensive works were conducted within Fort Delimara. With the help of other organisations, thorough cleaning was carried out in the underground sections and the parade ground. Several farm accretions, some of which were even dangerous, were removed. These structures included animal pens. A new electricity and water system has been installed at the fort, and security is also being stepped up.
Minister Owen Bonnici expressed appreciation for Heritage Malta’s efforts to give back to Fort Delimara the dignity it deserves. He said that the government is committed towards initiatives that ensure the preservation, restoration and rehabilitation of fortifications and other historical sites on a regular basis. He added that this is another link in a chain of initiatives aimed at giving new meaning to cultural heritage accessibility.
Noel Zammit said that what has been done so far at Fort Delimara was all that could possibly be achieved with the resources at the agency’s disposal. However, there is still much to do, resources are limited and there is dire need for the fort’s restoration and regeneration. The public is very interested in sites with a military history, as attested by the encouraging participation whenever Fort Delimara is opened to the public for a day of guided tours.
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