Plans to shelter unique Gozo catacombs to be submitted to PA
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Plans to shelter unique Gozo catacombs to be submitted to PA

Two of the initial designs show pathway leading to Għar Gerduf

One of the two initial designs that were presented to the government for consideration.

One of the two initial designs that were presented to the government for consideration.

The Gozo Ministry is drawing up environmentally-sustainable plans to shelter the only surviving Roman catacombs in Gozo, the Times of Malta is informed.

The land around and above the paleochristian hypogea, known as Għar Gerduf, is being expropriated and the remains will be opened to the public following rehabilitation.

When contacted, a Gozo Ministry spokesman noted that, as committed in its electoral manifesto, the government was investing in the restoration and upkeep of Gozo’s natural and cultural heritage. Għar Gerduf was among such sites.

“The Gozo Ministry is now preparing environmentally sustainable plans that will be submitted to the Planning Authority for the sheltering of historical remains in the premises and for the creation of minimal amenities to strengthen its touristic value,” he said. Further research on the natural aspect of the site is also being considered.

Read: 'Unrecorded historical remains in Gozo is worrying'

Two of the initial designs presented to the government for consideration at this early stage of the project show a pathway leading to the catacombs, situated in caves surrounded by fields. In the meantime, different funding options for the project are being analysed.

The area, measuring about 766 square metres in all, is being expropriated at a cost of more than €400,000, according to a notice in The Malta Government Gazette.

However, Gozitan NGO Wirt Għawdex is still concerned that the area in front of the catacombs will remain in private hands and, therefore, development attempts could be made there in the future.

Wirt Għawdex had called for the expropriation of the area in the past and its efforts were boosted in 2017 after excavation works started on foundation trenches for a two-storey house planned to be built in front of the catacombs.

The area around the catacombs was spared development after the Planning Authority revoked the planning permission that same month.

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