Work on the re-building of the Wignacourt Arch, known as Fleur-de-Lys Gate, is in its final stages. Work on this project started towards the end of last year. It is expected to cost some 280,000 euros, and Bank of Valletta will foot the bill for nearly one-third of this sum.
The work involved considerable stone-work and stone-carving, resulting in a true copy of the Arch which was constructed during the reign of Grand Master Wignacourt.
The completion of this project brings to a close a long chapter of delays and controversy between Birkirkara and St Venera Local Councils, a controversy which was solved following a Court decision regarding the name of the Arch and symbolic entrance.
The original Arch was built in 1615 as part of the Wignacourt Aqueduct, which had carried water from Rabat and brought about a social change because of new communities in the area.
The event was celebrated on a grand scale, as this was the first occasion when water had been brought down from Rabat. Before the building of the Aqueduct, water used to be transported on barges from Marsa.
The original Arch had been damaged in two separate incidents involving the British services, in 1943 and 1944. The Arch was then dismantled, and has now been rebuilt 71 years later, to the same specifications as the original.