The Main Guard was built towards the beginning of the 17th century by Grand Master Alof de Wignacourt to serve as quarters for the guards of the Grand Master’s palace, just across the square.
This function was retained for more than 350 years, until the early 1970s when the building housed the Libyan Cultural Centre and later the offices of the Attorney General until it was entrusted into the hands of Heritage Malta.
During British rule, hundreds of pictures were painted on the Main Guard walls, mostly in the Officers’ Mess, where the guards ate and rested in 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.
The main objective behind the Main Guard Project is twofold. It will serve as an interpretation centre for all Heritage Malta sites in the capital city and beyond, and secondly it will depict a wider perspective of the function of this building through the years, with particular emphasis on the mural paintings at first floor level.
Therefore, the ground floor, will present an immersive digital experience of the islands millennial history via Heritage Malta’s sites and museums in Valletta and the rest of Malta. This infrastructure can then be utilised by artists for their digital arts installations. The digital realm will also be implemented at first floor level, where the experience shall present contextual interpretation of the history and function of the building, focusing on the wall paintings, which digital media aims to bring to life for visitors to enjoy.
The regeneration of the Main Guard fits perfectly within the framework of Heritage Malta’s strategic vision for Valletta, in particular the direct link as the guard house of the Grandmasters Palace as well as capitalising on its proximity with the past and present hub of nightlife in the City.
Location of Project
19th November 2018 - TBA
Grand Master’s Palace
1st July 2020 - TBA
2nd November 2021 - TBA
Malta Maritime Museum