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Updated - Upper Fort St Elmo restoration nears completion

Work on the restoration of Upper Fort St Elmo in nearing completion, reversing years of neglect. The fort is set to be opened to the public and will host the Malta Military Museum in the coming months.

President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca toured the fort this morning and was shown around by Stefan Zrinzo, chairman of the Grand Harbour Regeneration Corporation, which handled the work.

The project, which is being carried out in collaboration with Heritage Malta, cost €15.5 million and incorporated the fort itself as well as Carafa Enceinte (the outer parts of the fort).

The National War Museum has been dismantled and will be incorporated into the new military museum, which will take viewers back to prehistory.

The process of rehabilitation uncovered previously unknown tunnels, underground rooms, remains of the original fort and the foundations of a windmill which dates to the pre-British period.

The future is still uncertain about Lower Fort St Elmo (which overlooks Marsamxett).

Valletta local council is reportedly considering using the former War Museum hall to house a museum about Valletta, but no decision yet has been taken on the use of the rest of the area once it is restored.

The area is extensive and includes the yard used as a 'Turkish prison' in the film Midnight Express,

There are barracks going back to the time of the Knights and the British, as well as a huge reservoir for millions of litres of water.

Dr Zrinzo Azzopardi said the crucial issue was sourcing funds for the restoration. The area is in a worse state than Upper Fort Ekmo had been and will therefore require more funds.

Dr Zrinzo Azzopardi said it was important to decide on a use of the building before or while restoration was under way so that it could be brought to life again and adequately maintained. Suggestions made so far ranged from tourist accommodation, an educational facility, or an artisans market.

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