Restoration of war-time shelters under The Cittadella and “Il-Loġġa tal-Palju” in Gozo
Two historic buildings in the centre of Victoria in Gozo, that is “Il-Loġġa tal-Palju” and war-time shelters under The Cittadella are to be restored as part of Gozo’s historical heritage. One of these will be open to the public after the completion of works.
Rooms under The Cittadella served as war-time shelters for the population as did “Il-Loġġa”. Known as Barrakka, the two are part of Gozo’s history and both are to be restored after an agreement between the Ministry for Gozo and Fondazzjoni Wirt Għawdex, the association that looks after the buildings.
“Il-Loġġa tal-Palju” was built in 1733 in the upper part of Triq it-Tiġrija (Racecourse Street) which is today known as Triq ir-Repubblika. This was the place where horse race winners were presented with their prizes, either a palm or a damask drape. Originally only the open lower part was built but later a roof was also placed over it.
Just a stone’s throw away further up the road there is a complex of 32 rooms under the San Martin Bastion, near The Cittadella’s main entrance. These shelters were built in 1941 at the start of enemy aerial attacks on Gozo when along a 150 metre strip of land private underground rooms were constructed for families to seek refuge during air raids.
Giovanni N. Zammit from Wirt Għawdex said the public often asks why this place is not open for public viewing but hopefully this will soon be solved.
Gozo Minister Justyne Caruana said restoration is being undertaken budgeted at €50,000 and will augment the chain of initiatives in an ambitious restoration programme of Gozo’s heritage.
She described the projects as being of importance and of great value and these are to be restored to their former glory.
Meanwhile, Wirt Għawdex has written to the Planning Authority and the Superintendence of Cultural Patrimony expressing its great concerns on what it described as uncontrolled building taking place in the historical centre of Victoria. Wirt Għawdex said it is not against development but this should be controlled and should not change the appearance and character of the central part of this old city.