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Plan to restore ancient Greek Gate at Mdina

The Greek Gate at Mdina. Photo: Chris Sant FournierThe Greek Gate at Mdina. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

The ancient Greek Gate, leading into the Silent City of Mdina, will be given a facelift and restored to its former glory after a planning commission gave the go-ahead for work to start.

The project also includes the restoration of St Mary’s and St Peter’s bastions and their ramparts. These are the last two stretches of the former capital city that have not yet been restored.

Restoration works have already been carried out on the Vilhena Palace, St Paul’s Bastion area, the Despuig Bastions and the adjacent ramparts as well as Magazine Curtain.

The project was recommended for approval by the case officer who pointed out that the site was an area of archaeology in a city where remains dating from the Bronze Age had been discovered.

According to the restoration method statement, the deterioration of the Mdina fortifications resulted from different factors.

Among them were exposure to the elements, salt contamination from sea spray, rising damp and nitrates, plant growth, neglect and lack of maintenance over the years and human intervention.

The deteriorated masonry fabric will be restored and detached pieces will be stabilised. The surface will be cleaned and any missing or deteriorated sections of the limestone will be replaced.

The method statement was approved by the Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee and the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage.

Last year, the government said €1 million in EU funds was available for the restoration of the Greek Gate and surrounding areas.

The Greek Gate earned its name from having once served the small Greek population living in Mdina’s southwest quarter.

The entrance actually consists of two gateways, one grafted in front of the other. The innermost one is the old medieval entrance and was a secondary gateway, or porta falsa, that led into the ditch.

The outer portal is a later Baroque construction, dating from the early 18th century, constructed by French military engineer Charles Francois de Mondion. It had a drawbridge and was protected by a drop ditch, which is no longer visible.

It also has a cantina, or underground chamber, used to retract the drawbridge platform.

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