The Malta Independent 20 March 2018, Tuesday

Historic Notre Dame Gate to get a facelift

Tuesday, 9 January 2018, 10:10 Last update: about 3 months ago

Visiting the grand gate of Notre Dame in Zabbar will become a new, enriching experience after the Planning Commission approved permission for works to be carried out. The works will include the restoration of the external masonry fabric of the Gate, the excavation and reconstruction of part of the original ditch surrounding the monument and the installation of a panoramic glazed lift. The lift will provide access to the topmost roof platform of the building. Planting of soft landscaping and the installation of hard stone paving will also be carried out.

The restoration works on the masonry walls will include the cleaning of stone surface, the removal of redundant metallic fixings and existing drain pipes and the removal of old cement.
Deteriorated masonry fabric will be replaced while pointing and rendering will be carried out where necessary. A timber drawbridge at the entrance to Notre Dame Gate will be reconstructed.

The project will be carried out by Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna who also manage the site. The restoration method statement of the gate has been endorsed by the Superintendent of Cultural Heritage and all works will be monitored by the Planning Authority's conservation officers.

Notre' Dame Gate is one of seven gates built into the 9km‐long Cottonera Lines. Also known as Porta della Maria Vergine delle Grazie, Zabbar Gate and Bieb is-Sultan, the gate was planned to serve as the main entrance into the fortified conglomeration when approached from the east. It stands in the middle of Notre' Dame Curtain from which it takes its name and is flanked by Notre' Dame Bastion on its right and St. James Bastion on the left facing the ancient town of Zabbar.

This grand gate remains to this day as the highest point in Cottonera. From its towering roof
one can enjoy breath taking vistas of most of the island making the relay of military signals
between the eastern coastal defences and Valletta proper ideal. Its architectural design follows that of the high‐baroque period at which time it was built. It is lavishly decorated with Corinthian pilasters, heavy mouldings and fascias, symmetrical niches
and apertures.

The gate which remained in constant military use for almost 300 years, is scheduled as a Grade 1 national monument, and it is also listed on the National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands.

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