The Malta Independent 15 November 2018, Thursday

Reconstruction Of St Anthony’s Chapel at Fort Manoel complete

Malta Independent Tuesday, 20 October 2009, 00:00 Last update: about 5 years ago

After years of hard work, the chapel of St Anthony of Padua at Fort Manoel has been rebuilt. The ball finial crowning the lantern was ceremoniously positioned recently, exactly two years after works commenced, in the presence of MIDI officials, the architects from aoM Partnership as well as representatives from Vaults Co. Ltd., the restoration contractors.

A time-capsule was specially made and placed in the mortar before the finial was lowered above. Inside the capsule was a script with the names of all those involved in the project, together with Maltese Euro coins and a medallion of St Anthony. Furthermore, St Anthony’s last words were engraved in Latin on the entablature together with the year of completion.

Remaining operations now focus on the finishing works including the application of the traditional reddish deffun-finish on the cupola. Other works inside the building comprise the fair-facing and pointing of all internal masonry surfaces, as well as the reconstruction of the missing side altars reredos in the nave. The installation of apertures and lighting will follow.

The chapel of St Anthony of Padua was built in 1727 to serve the religious needs of the garrison of Fort Manoel. It is dedicated to the namesake of the Portuguese Grand Master Antonio Manoel de Vilhena, who sponsored the construction of the fort. The baroque chapel was reduced to ruins during an air-raid in the spring of 1942. Subsequent years of neglect, pillage and exposure to the elements led to further decay of the remains.

In keeping with its contractual obligations to restore the historic monuments on Manoel Island and Tigne` Point, MIDI p.l.c. has salvaged a lost gem, opting to rebuild it in its original style following years of research carried out by aoM Partnership, the architectural firm commissioned for the project.

The Chapel of St Anthony will be open for viewing as part of the Fort Manoel Open Weekend organised by Midi plc on Saturday 31 October and Sunday 1 November. For more information please visit www.midimalta.com/openweekend

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