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Unrestored Casino Notabile is ‘secure’

Casino Notabile, built in 1887, will remain clad in scaffolding for the time being. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Casino Notabile, built in 1887, will remain clad in scaffolding for the time being. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

The architectural gem of Casino Notabile is to remain supported by scaffolding for the foreseeable future as other restoration work in Mdina takes precedence.

Built in 1887, the building, which elegantly overlooks Saqqajja Hill in Rabat, is endangered by unstable foundations and is being monitored.

But the first priority is to finish the restoration of the bastions known as the Despuig and Magazine Curtains, a government spokesman said. This project is expected to be completed by the end of 2013 and restoration of the Vilhena Palace in Mdina will take place afterwards, the spokesman said.

“So far the Restoration Directorate has been responsible to install safety shoring to ensure the safe-keeping of the building.

“We also monitored the building for a period of one year and no significant movements were noted,” he added.

In the meantime, the monitoring of Casino Notabile will carry on so that the Restoration Directorate would be able to help the local council (responsible for building) come up with the most “economically and technically feasible solution”.

Mdina mayor Peter dei Conti Sant Manduca said studies had been carried out on Casino Notabile and the main issue was the foundations, which suffered from the same problem as the bastions beneath Vilhena Palace: a fault in the rock that ran right through to the Casino.

However, the councillors’ minds were at rest once it had been determined that the building was secure and was being monitored, he said.

According to historians, Casino Notabile was built by nobles residing in Mdina as a place for their social gatherings. They commissioned an English civil engineer, Paulson Webster, who had constructed the Royal Opera House in Valletta, to build a suitable edifice.

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