Gozo Minister inaugurates newly restored Loggja tal-Palju in Victoria
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The newly restored Loggja tal-Palju – known locally as the Barrakka – has been inaugurated by the Minister for Gozo Dr Justyne Caruana.
This was one of two projects of restoration on historic sites in the heart of the city of Gozo announced in February this year by the Ministry for Gozo in collaboration with Wirt Ghawdex, with a total investment of €50,000. The other project is the World War II shelters in the Citadel.
Gozitan sculptor Joe Xuereb, is exhibiting a selection of his well-known sculptures to mark the occasion.Situated at the top of Racecourse Street, now Republic Street in Victoria, the building is known as Il-Barrakka a platform from where the Governor of Gozo during the rule of the Knights of St John (1530-1798) distributed the prizes during the horse races on the annual occasion of Santa Marija on the 15th of August.
The present structure was built in 1733 and was probably designed by François de Mondion. It replaced an earlier, probably late mediaeval, barrakka.
Originally, there was only a raised platform that was eventually arched by the British. On the 15th of August 1746, the paljijiet, flags made of damask, were distributed to winners by Grand Master Emmanuel Pinto de Fonseca himself. His role was eventually taken over by the British Governor of Malta (1800-1964) and, presently, by the Minister for Gozo.
Judges and other dignitaries watch and appraise the races from this barrakka to this day and, at the end, present the winners with the paljijiet.
Photographs: Wirt Ghawdex