Restoration work on Citadel World War II Air-Raid shelters inaugurated

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Restoration work on Citadel World War II Air-Raid shelters inauguratedThe Minister for Gozo Justyne Caruana has inaugurated the restoration work carried out by Wirt Ghawdex on the World War II Air-Raid shelters located opposite the main entrance of the Citadel in Victoria.

The World War II shelters in the Citadel comprise of a complex of rooms, 32 in total, located below the St Martin’s Bastion. Construction on this haven from air attacks started in 1941, and in a tunnel which is over 150 metres in length there are a number of private rooms that were used as a refuge for families.

A programme of extensive restoration work was carried out at the shelters, which included cleaning away a range of material that had accumulated over the years, installation of modern lighting and PA system, renovation of rooms with staging of some of the shelters and installation of informational panels about the site and its combined history.

Dr Caruana praised this initiative of Wirt Ghawdex, saying that, “this supports the Ministry for Gozo’s commitment to continue working together with Wirt Ghawdex on the protection and conservation of the historical and cultural heritage of our country.”

The Minister explained that this extensive project benefited from funds through an agreement signed between the Ministry for Gozo and Wirt Ghawdex in February last year for more than €50,000, and also included the restoration of the Loggja tal-Palju located in the upper part of Republic Street, in Victoria, which was inaugurated last November.

“The protection of historical heritage remains key and it is being given the attention it deserves by this Ministry,” said Dr Caruana.

She also explained how each year, the Ministry issues restoration schemes for local councils to submit their proposals for restoring historic sites in the villages.

The Minister Caruana concluded by stating that the collaboration and excellent relationship which exists between the Ministry for Gozo and Wirt Ghawdex will continue to strengthen, when in the coming days initiatives will be announced to restore other sites of historical importance and will be part of the working plan for Wirt Ghawdex in 2019.

Photograph:MGOZ/George Scerri

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