FAA welcomes plan to close off 1950s Cittadella gate
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FAA welcomes plan to close off 1950s Cittadella gate

The 1950s gate and the originally gate of Gozo's Cittadella, which is currently hardly used.

The 1950s gate and the originally gate of Gozo's Cittadella, which is currently hardly used.

Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar has welcomed Mepa's approval of the Cittadella Masterplan, which, among other things, will see the closing off of the 1950s gate and the reinstatement of the original gate.

In a statement, the NGO noted that the plan provides for the restoration, upgrading and rehabilitation of Gozo's unique citadel.

"The project's holistic and sophisticated treatment of the whole area shows that a great deal of thought has gone into these plans which will partly close the 1950s arch in the bastions and reinstate the original entrance to the citadel, which many visitors to the Cittadella are not even aware of. The positioning of the visitors' centre below the bastions also valorises another unknown feature of the fortifications, as the sally-port or hidden exit within the bastions will be used as an access from the visitors' centre to the upper level of the fortified structure."

The Cittadella Masterplan will provide improved access to the bastions and make better use of some of the buildings within the citadel.

FAA said it particularly welcomed the re-use of the enormous old water reservoirs just beneath the citadel's outer walls which in the 1990s were risking demolition.

"The innovative use of these reservoirs as a non-intrusive visitors' centre is an excellent example of rehabilitation of an old structure. While being modern in treatment, this conversion does not jar with the surroundings and will greatly increase our appreciation of the Cittadella's past role, as well as attracting many more tourists to this historic site. 

Part of the visitors' centre/reservoir will form part of a water heritage trail to highlight the importance of the perched aquifer that lies just beneath the Cittadella, which was the reason why this hill was chosen as an ideal defensive post centuries ago. The water trail will focus on traditional systems of water conservation in wells and even in a cavern, which will link the heritage theme with the Eco-Gozo sustainability concept.  

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