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Rabat's crucifix-shaped tree resurrected

Rabat's crucifix-shaped tree was supported back into place yesterday after it was uprooted by strong winds on Thursday. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier.

Rabat's crucifix-shaped tree was supported back into place yesterday after it was uprooted by strong winds on Thursday. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier.

When strong winds uprooted Rabat's landmark crucifix-shaped tree, the devoted community that drove past it for decades branched out to revive it.

The strong winds pushed the tree over on Thursday evening and phone calls inundated the authorities demanding action to save the beloved Siġra tas-Salib (crucifix tree), an Aleppo tree that grew into an uncanny natural representation of the crucified Christ.

Providence came in the form of collaboration between the Rabat local council, the Rural Affairs Ministry and Environmental Landscapes Consortium (ELC) that takes care of landscaping in the area.

Rabat mayor Sandro Kraus said his phone had not stopped ringing since Thursday evening. Clearly, he said, this prinjola holds a special place in people's hearts.

ELC general manager Ronald Cuschieri said that yesterday morning efforts were made to try to solidify the tree in place and support structures were installed.

If the tree does not re-root itself safely in its original site, an alternative may be to uproot it and replant it in another place where it will not endanger public safety. He stressed that the tree was not getting preferential treatment as "when it's possible to save a tree we spare no effort. I must say I was amazed by people's reaction to this tree... I was even told that people cried when they heard what had happened."

Perhaps the tree's seeds were truly ones of love.

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