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Din l-Art Helwa opening historic properties to public

The Gardjola before and after restoration

The Gardjola before and after restoration

Din l-Art Helwa will be opening its historic properties to the public from Monday and is hoping locals and tourists alike will visit these beautifully located sites.

The voluntary heritage organisation acquired title to 12 historic sites - nine in Malta, two in Comino and one in Gozo - on February 21.

Among the monuments are Torri l-Ahmar in Mellieha, Wignacourt Tower at St Paul's Bay and Torri Mamo near Marsascala, which will be open to the public five or even more times a week.

Other sites will initially open only once a week or even just once a month.

The Santa Marija Tower and the Santa Marija Gun Battery in Comino will only be open during the summer months when the island comes to life.

"Since the organisation is a voluntary one, we can only open the properties as and when volunteers are able to do so," executive president Martin Scicluna said.

Mr Scicluna is hoping that more volunteers will come forward to enable the sites to be open more frequently. In the near future the organisation is planning a helpline to keep visitors updated about the opening hours.

Din l-Art Helwa maintains seven 17th century watch-towers, the 17th century gun battery in Comino, a 19th century cemetery and three mediaeval chapels in Malta.

Mr Scicluna said it cost Din l-Art Helwa about Lm2,000 a year to maintain each site. The backing of its corporate members and fund-raising events made this work possible.

A number of historic re-enactments would be organised at some of the properties from time to time.

The organisation is also planning to put up information panels so that the casual visitor will be able to learn about each monument's history and setting.

Leaflets with detailed information on each site will be distributed to hotels and other establishments.

Entry to all Din l-Art Helwa's properties costs 50 cents per person. Members and children under the age of 16 will enter free.

For opening times of the different sites call on 2122 5952 or send an e-mail to: info@dinlarthelwa.org.

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