Within the framework of Twin it!, national cultural institutions across European Union Member States were encouraged to collaborate to submit a single 3D digitized heritage asset to the common European data space for cultural heritage, facilitated by the Europeana Initiative. The primary objective of this campaign is to gather and exhibit exemplary and top-quality instances of Europe’s cultural assets in 3D, simultaneously assisting Member States in their endeavors related to 3D digitization and preservation.
The 3D digitized asset had to meet a number of criteria and high technical standards, serving as a showcase of European excellence in the field.
It is Heritage Malta’s great pleasure to announce that Malta, the EU’s smallest nation, was the very first country to submit its entry: the Ċittadella of Gozo https://www.europeana.eu/en/item/1053/_Cittadella_Gozo
The Ċittadella, situated at the heart of Gozo, Malta’s sister island, crowns a natural flat-topped hill. Its strategic location, chosen by early inhabitants, offered natural fortification, commanding views of the surrounding countryside, coast, and open sea. Archaeological evidence traces settlement to the Late Bronze Age, evolving into an administrative centre during Phoenician/Punic and Roman times. Under Byzantine, Arab, and Norman rule, the Citadel evolved. Despite centuries of decay, surviving structures showcase architectural diversity, including the notable Baroque Cathedral Church built during the Knights of Malta period. This site, which has been extensively restored over the last years, contains a wide range of important architecture and tangible cultural heritage within its bastion walls. Within its small footprint, the Ċittadella hosts four museums operated by Heritage Malta.
Heritage Malta’s Digitisation Unit, together with all other Heritage Malta departments, plays a pivotal role in preserving and promoting the country’s rich cultural heritage through advanced digital technologies. The unit, which has achieved the prestigious ISO 9001 certification, is responsible for digitizing Malta’s national collection, encompassing both tangible and intangible cultural assets.
One notable initiative is its direct involvement as national representative in the Commission Expert Group on the common European Data Space for Cultural Heritage (CEDCHE). This group reviews and discusses policies related to digital cultural heritage, aligning Malta with broader European strategies. The Digitisation Unit is addressing contemporary digitisation challenges, participating in a number of EU Horizon projects focused on climate change and cultural heritage, combating illegal trafficking of cultural goods, and employing digital tools for audience engagement.
Heritage Malta’s role extends beyond national borders, as the organization has been appointed as the national data aggregator for digital cultural heritage for Europeana. The ongoing accreditation process with Europeana, Europe’s biggest cultural heritage aggregator, will soon enable Heritage Malta to directly connect and share the national collection with a broader audience. This effort aligns with the organization’s commitment to accessibility, and following the upcoming launch of the “An Island at the Crossroads” exhibition at the Malta Maritime Museum, a substantial portion of the national maritime collection will be accessible to the public online.
Heritage Malta’s multifaceted approach demonstrates its dedication to leveraging technology, international collaboration, and digital platforms to safeguard and showcase Malta’s cultural legacy.
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