Application for Great Siege maps to be included in UNESCO Register of Memory

Heritage Malta and the Faculty of Science at Charles University in Prague have submitted an application for four maps of the Great Siege of Malta to be included in the International Register of World Memory held by UNESCO.

These four maps, the work of Italian publisher Giovanni Francesco Camocio, were made at the time of the Great Siege. The maps have been brought together at an exhibition in the Museum of Archaeology.

The anniversary of the Great Siege has come and gone, but interest in this event in Malta’s history never seems to wane.

Heritage Malta brought out three maps of the Great Siege from its reserve collection and placed them on show for the first time together with another map of the Great Siege, the original copy of which is the property of the Faculty of Science at Charles University in Prague.

These four maps document events during the Great Siege between August and September of 1565, from the attack on Senglea to the withdrawal of the Ottoman forces.

Heritage Malta curator Bernadine Scicluna explained that “during the Siege these maps carried out a journalistic function. They were a means of conveying news. The opportunity to see these Siege maps, the work of Italian publisher Camocio, next to each other, doesn’t crop up very often. Through this exhibition, when one views the maps together, one can appreciate similarities and differences”. the assistance of Malta’s representation in UNESCO, Heritage Malta and Charles University made a request for these four maps to be included in UNESCO’s International Register of World Memory. The first ever Maltese work in this Register is Pietru Caxaro’s Cantilena.

“We are talking about paper, a very fragile material. It is even more important for these works to be registered, making them accessible and visible to other collections and museums”, Scicluna added.

The exhibition was inaugurated by Justice and Culture Minister Owen Bonnici, who spoke about the importance of preserving the memory of a people. Heritage Malta Chairman Dr Joseph Buttigieg said Heritage Malta intended bringing historically important artefacts out of its reserve collection and putting them on show on a more regular basis.

Entry to this exhibition at the Museum of Archaeology in Valletta is without charge. The exhibition will remain open until mid-May.