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ERDF 32: Archaeological Heritage Conservation Project

Project Cost: €9,260,758
Beneficiary: Heritage Malta
Line Ministry: Minsitry for Justice, Culture and Local Government
Start Date: 2008
End Date: 2015

Non Technical Short Summary Of Project

The Archaeological Heritage Conservation Project has embellished and conserved two sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as part of the 'Maltese Megalithic Temples', Ggantija and Tarxien Temples, as well as St Paul's Catacombs which are an outstanding example of Malta's Catacombs and are on the Tentative List for future inscription as a World Heritage Site.

Operational Programme: OPI Investing in Competitiveness for a Better Quality of Life ERDF
Fund: European Regional Development Fund
Operational Objective: To promote the Maltese Islands as a prime and diverse tourist destination;
Priority Axis: PA2 Promoting Sustainable Tourism
Focus Area Of Intervention: OPIPA2 Product Development
Focus Area of Intervention: OPIPA2 Niche Market Development and Branding

Project Objectives

This Project will support Malta’s efforts in becoming a more competitive cultural tourism destination as expressed in Malta’s National Reform Programme of 2005. This will be carried out by providing effective accessibility to Malta’s sites of World Heritage value, whilst ensuring that these sites are preserved for the enjoyment of future generations, in accordance with the Cultural Heritage Act (2002) and in part-fulfilment of Malta’s National Tourism Plan (2006). In addition, this Project will contribute to the promotion and preservation of sites of World Heritage value in accordance with the UNESCO World Heritage Convention (1972).
In fulfilling these aims, this Project will reap benefits, not only to the tourism industry, but also for society at large, by offering a renewed, sensitive and educational approach to Malta’s heritage for the general public.

Project Results

1. Construction of a Visitor Centre at Ggantija Temples covering a footprint of approx. 600sqm, incorporating a permanent display of Gozo’s prehistoric collection, activity area, museum shop and other basic amenities;
2. Realisation of a Heritage Park encompassing the agricultural land (Government property) around the Ggantija Temples, involving a stretch of approx. 200m of rubble wall restoration and rebuilding;
3. Documentation of the Tarxien Temples in the form of one 3-dimensional digital model of the whole site;
4. Construction of a shelter over the Tarxien Temples, covering an area of 250m2;
5. Construction of a walkway at the Tarxien Temples, covering an area of 190m2
6. Documentation/Studies of the St Paul’s Catacombs shall encompass a large area of the catacombs. Surveys will be covering approximately an area of 12,000m2 on more than one level and will include elevation drawings. Conservation Studies conducted shall be focussed in core areas and will cover an area of approximately 2,000m2.
7. Installation of a visitor centre at St Paul’s Catacombs with the provision of ancillary services, covering an area of approximately 600m2
8. Creation of walkways and footpaths at St Paul’s Catacombs covering an area of approximately 250m2
9. Installation of specialised lighting at St Paul’s Catacombs, covering an area of approximately 1,600m2
10. Installation of security measures at St Paul’s Catacombs, covering an area of 2,000m2
11. Rehabilitation of the garden and installation of a child recreational area at St Paul’s Catacombs, covering an area of 3,000 m2

Project Purpose

"The Project will ensure the sustainable enjoyment of three primary archaeological heritage sites. It will provide the necessary facilities for visitors and will contribute to the long-term preservation of these sites, in accordance with the Cultural Heritage Act whereby Heritage Malta is to “…ensure that those elements of the cultural heritage entrusted to it are protected and made accessible to the public”. (CAP.445, Cultural Heritage Act part III, 8.1, p8)

The Project will help “…reduce the impact of high density population on our cultural heritage sites during the peak season” (Malta’s National Tourism Plan, 2006) and will also balance the needs of visitor accessibility with those of the conservation of these sites so that “…the needs of the tourism industry do not conflict with the needs of conservation and preservation” (Malta’s National Tourism Plan, 2006)."