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Pre-Great Siege bastion unearthed

A bastion wall built at Vittoriosa under Grand Master De Valette just before the Great Siege of 1565 has been rediscovered and is being restored.

The structure forms part of St James Bastion and was unearthed during extensive restoration works carried out on the Vittoriosa fortifications as part of the Government’s €36 million project, which also includes some of the bastions of Valletta, Mdina and Victoria.

The project encompasses the transformation of the Vittoriosa fortifications ditch into a garden, along the lines of works being done in Mdina.

Resources Minister George Pullicino, who visited Vittoriosa yesterday, said Mepa issued the permit for the new garden on Wednesday.

It will wind its way beneath the 18-metre-high bastions, from the recently rehabilitated Couvre Porte all the way to the Post of Castille, where the old British-built oil depot was recently demolished revealing the bastion that had been partly hidden behind it.

The ditch will be embellished with endemic plants and turf. Existing trees will be retained, except for those growing within the fortifications and causing damage. These trees will be relocated within the ditch itself.

An 18th century Caponier across the ditch was recently found under the trees and is also being excavated and restored.

The Ministry is also going ahead with its plans to pave the Collachio, the oldest part of Vittoriosa, which was used exclusively by the Knights until Valletta was built.

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