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ERDF 147: Restoration of San Lawrenz Church to enhance cultural tourism in Gozo

Project Cost: €318,765
Beneficiary: San Lawrenz Parish Church
Line Ministry: N/A
Start Date: 2009
End Date: 2013

Non Technical Short Summary Of Project

This project carried out restoration works required on the main facade of the parish church of San Lawrenz which is a baroque architectural structure which dates back to 1893.The works also included works on the parvis structure and the church bells, restoration of the five works of art which the church hosts and the Church organ which was built in the early years of the 20th Century. Upon completion of the restoration works, an audio visual interpretation panel was installed thus providing tourists with the history that surrounds the church. In addition a marketing tool in the form of a tourism road map was produced to promote the diverse tourist attractions that are located in the Western part of Gozo.

Operational Programme: OPI Investing in Competitiveness for a Better Quality of Life ERDF
Fund: European Regional Development Fund
Operational Objective: To support the upgrading of the tourism product;
Priority Axis: PA2 Promoting Sustainable Tourism
Focus Area Of Intervention: OPIPA2 Product Development

Project Objectives

The objective set out by the project proponents is to promote the Western part of the island of Gozo within the tourism industry by enhancing the tourism product that this side of Gozo, and in particular San Lawrenz, has to offer. The project thus seeks to restore the church's main facade, including its historical bells, to the structure's original glory, restore valuable paintings representative of the nation's art heritage and restore the church organ and in so doing widen the tourism product which San Lawrenz has to offer. Once all the above are restored and the interpretation panels are set up and the tourist road maps are printed, the visitors will have an added cultural attraction to visit and to learn about this, together with the other cultural assets located within the small village of San Lawrenz, tourists, particularly the ever growing cultural enthusiasts, will experience a diversified experience. The project aims to contribute to expanding the product offer which the Maltese islands have to offer thus enhancing Malta's competitiveness within the tourism sector.

Project Results

1. The church will be open for visitors three times a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) from 11.00-13.00 hrs and 15.00 - 17.00 hrs; 2. A sacred organ will be organised every year. This cultural Event aimed at Foreign and Local Tourists will be advertised by leaflets in Tourists accommodations, website and newspapers; 3. As discussed with Transport Malta, once the project is ready, the hop-on hop-off bus operators can commence to offer the service in San Lawrenz; 4. Site visits will be organised (free of charge) during the year specifically on the paintings of Cali. Advertising through various media will be carried out on the paintings and of the opening hours of the church, with the scope to attract Tourists visiting Gozo; 5. The parvis will also serve as a backdrop for evening cultural events to be held in the main square. It is expected that 10 activities will be organised per annum. This will provide an additional attraction of the locality, enhancing the overall visitor experience. There will also be more knowledge dispersal resulting from this project, thus people will be made more aware of the unique characteristics of the church and its significance to the locality and also of the cultural value and history of the organ and paintings housed within it; 7. An innovative audio-visual panel will be installed on site so that visitors will have access to detailed information in various languages; 8. A tourism road map will be printed and distributed to tourists visiting the island.

Project Purpose

The purpose of implementing this project is to: 1. protect and preserve a cultural heritage asset which is located within an area which is highly frequented by tourists and Maltese visitors due to the high concentration of cultural assets one finds within the parameters of San Lawrenz; 2. through the envisaged works, the main facade of the church will be restored to its glory thus halting the deterioration process which is currently prevailing on the main structure; 3. through the installation of floor recessed lighting, the church together with the embellished works within the main square to be undertaken by the Local Council (through separate funding) will provide a scenic backdrop to visitors who visit the locality in the evening; 4. through the restoration of the historic church bells halt the deterioration processes which are negatively affecting these bells and provide further attraction to visiting tourists; 5. through the restoration of the organ, provide a further attraction within the church context in general and music enthusiasts in particular and allow its use during cultural events; 6. through the use of the audio-visual interpretation panel a, visitors will have an informative visit through the historic information which will be made available as well as through information provided on the architecture of this baroque structure and the works of art one finds in the interior of the church. Currently, no such information is available for tourists once they arrive on location; 7. through the distribution of the tourist road maps promote the western part of Gozo and in particular three main localities San Lawrenz, Gharb and Ghasri whilst providing a diversified binerary for tourists varying from natural sites to religious, cultural and artistic venues.