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Lift on at Barrakka

Valletta visitors can now glide effortlessly from Grand Harbour into the heart of the city after the Barrakka lift was inaugurated yesterday.

With bright lights and dramatic music filling Lascaris Ditch, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi pushed a button in front of invited dignitaries that signalled the completion of the €2.5million project.

“Thousands of tourists arriving by cruise liners in Malta each week will be able to enter the heart of the city within minutes from Valletta Waterfront,” Dr Gonzi said in his address.

“This projects returns life to one of the best known symbols of the city,” he added.

Part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund, the lift was built on the site of the original Barrakka lift that was in service from 1905 till 1970 and dismantled in 1983.

A sign from the original lift which reads ‘The Barrakka lift, the quickest way into the city’ was also unveiled at the site last night by Dr Gonzi and Infrastructure Minister Austin Gatt.

Dr Gonzi and Dr Gatt joined President Emeritus Eddie Fenech Adami on the lift’s maiden voyage to a reception at Upper Barrakka Gardens.

The lift can carry up to 800 people per hour, with its two cabins carrying up to 21 passengers each.

Users pay will pay €1 each to use the lift, which reaches the top in a matter of seconds, offering breathless views of Grand Harbour along the way.

Works began on the 58-metre-high concrete structure surrounded by aluminium mesh in the second half of last year.

The lift also connects the centre of Valletta with the Three Cities thanks to the new ferry service which began operating last week.

Ferry users will be entitled to free same-day use of the lift.

Dr Gonzi said the lift was another example of the rejuvenation of Valletta.

As well as the City Gate project, the Prime Minister drew attention to the regeneration and restoration of dispensaries, palaces, squares and open spaces.

History

1905: The original Barrakka Lift linking Grand Harbour with the city was inaugurated and operated by the same company that operated the tram service.

1970: The lift is closed down.

1983: Disused lift is dismantled.

2010: Planning authority gives go-ahead for new lift.

2012: New lift is inaugurated

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