The Ministry for Justice, Culture and Local Government, through the Restoration Directorate, has started restoration works on five sites found within Fort Ricasoli which have been identified as the most crucial that are in need of restoration works.
"Through the start of these restoration works we are addressing one of the largest historical sites found in our country to continue working towards safeguarding our heritage," said Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government Owen Bonnici during a visit at Fort Ricasoli.
He thanked all those involved in the realisation of this ambitious project and said that "this is being done thanks to the numerous interventions that are being and will be carried out by the Restoration Directorate, as we are committed to strengthen our country's tangible heritage for generations to come."
The first site to be addressed is the Casemates in front of the No 1 Curtain, with works already in process. This structure was built during the end of the 19th century. The globigerina limestone rock used for this structure has heavily deteriorated during the years. Some remains of masonry were found which indicate that these had been changed in the past, which deteriorated as well. There are parts from the façade which have collapsed and others which are in danger of collapsing as well. The deteriorated stonework will be changed, mortar joints will be repointed, and the screed will be fixed to prevent the intake of water in the stonework. Works have already started on this site and is expected to be complete during summer of next year.
"As one of the most important heritage sites in Malta, Fort Ricasoli is a key asset for Malta's film industry. The fort serves as a backlot for film makers and it did so for various blockbusters including for Gladiator, Troy, Agora, Assassin's Creed, and much more. The fort is a unique site and is constantly sought after by foreign productions alike. We strongly believe that we should invest in the restoration and conservation of Fort Ricasoli, ensuring that we protect our heritage and remains for the film industry," said Malta Film Commissioner Johann Grech.
The second part of restoration works will be carried out on the Counterguard Wall which is in a bad state because the sea has demolished parts of it during the years. An intervention will be carried out on the South facing façade to address the damages. The fallen parts will be rebuilt, and the damage caused on other parts will be fixed. Special attention will also be given to change the deteriorated stonework, for mortar joints to be repointed and for the screed to be fixed to prevent water entry within the masonry. Works are expected to start in the coming weeks.
Restoration works will be carried out on the corner of St Dominic's Bastion and on the façade of casemates along Tennaile Wall which are expected to start in 2020. At the same time, documentation is being carried out on both sites to better understand the interventions which are needed. Studies are also being carried out on the concrete used for the Fire Control Tower in Bastion No. 4 so that the Directorate can better understand the materials used to carry out the necessary interventions. Works on the fifth site are expected to start in 2021.
In all, 5 sites within the fort which are in imminent need of restoration will be addressed – these works are being financed through the directorate and are estimated to reach around €1 million.
Moreover, the Restoration Directorate is documenting other various parts of the Fort to determine their state.