Senglea 'Gardjola' and bastion to undergo restoration works

€250,000 restoration project launched by Cabinet members Owen Bonnici and Stefan Buontempo

The Gardjola lookout post in Senglea and adjoining bastion will be restored through a €250,000 restoration project, minister Owen Bonnici and junior minister Stefan Buontempo announced today.

The project is managed by the Restoration Directorate, is funded by ERDF and is earmarked to be completed by the end of the current year.

The Cabinet members said that the site was in dire need of restoration and the Government acted swiftly to restore a beautiful part of the patrimony to its former glory.  

“We believe in the potential of the Cottonera area,” the Justice Minister said.

The deterioration processes experienced by the fortifications are the result of a number of factors, which includes exposure and orientation, salt contamination amongst many others.

 Restoration Directorate Chief Norbert Gatt and Architect Claude Borg, in charge of the restoration site, said that interventions needed were varied and complex. The restoration included not only the cleaning and pointing processes but also a change in methodology.

The deterioration and damage of the rock level varies within a few metres from each other.

Interventions include rock bolting in the areas where the rock has delaminated.

In one particular corner, the rock has eroded a good one metre inwards and this will involve structural interventions, including inserting reinforcement rods and mesh and applying a special cast concrete.

In the vertical cracks, a combination of cast concrete and shot creating methods shall be used.

The fortifications had undergone a number of restoration interventions in the past. The restoration method of applying course pebbles to the eroded stone is to be retained and consolidated on site.

Other interventions have formed a particular patina, however are structurally dislodged from the back. These stone blocks will be painstakingly removed one at a time and filled with grout at the back and reutilised in the same position as before.

The Gardjola base will also be consolidated without the need to dismantle it. In certain cases, a non-shrink mix with similar properties to globigerina limestone shall be used to rebuild the missing stone parts.

The ‘Spur’ of Senglea

Among the most important elements of the fortifications of Senglea, is the part of the enceinte situated at the tip of the promontory and known as the Sperone, or Spur (il-Ponta ta’ l-Isla). The name derives from the shape of the triangular spur which forms the salient of the rampart.

This work was built prior to the late 1550’s and became famous for an important battle during the Great Siege of 1565.

The fortifications underwent a number of changes and modifications by the Knights of St John in the centuries following the siege. One of the latest additions included the construction of a large sea-level battery enveloping the foot of the ramparts.

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