The Malta Independent 16 November 2018, Friday

Hompesch Gate restoration works inaugurated

Saturday, 23 June 2018, 11:30 Last update: about 6 months ago

The Hompesch Gate restoration project was inaugurated yesterday by Justice and Culture Minister Owen Bonnici.

Works on the Zabbar monument began in October 2017. One of the main concerns related to the structural movement, which had occurred through the years in various areas as attested by the presence of structural cracks running along the jambs and intrados of the arch, the sagging of the arch voussoirs on the East elevation, the dislodging and displacement of individual stone blocks, and the fracturing of others. 

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Structural consolidation interventions carried out during the present restoration project varied and included lime-based grout injection into the thickness of the arch, the stitching of cracks through epoxy/lime injection and the insertion of carbon fibre rods, localised partial dismantling and reinstatement of dislodged stone blocks, and limited replacement of fractured stone blocks. 

 Restoration works were then extended to include the removal of, amongst others, superfluous metal fixtures, cables, wiring, the cleaning of accumulated dirt deposits from the stone surface, the removal of cement-based plasters and pointing, the superficial consolidation of the stone fabric, and the repointing of open mortar joints.

The project was carried out by the Restoration Directorate within the Ministry for Justice, Culture and Local Government, under the ‘Restoration Works Scheme for Local Councils’ (2017).  It was completed in May of this year.

“Hompesch Gate is a significant monument for Ħaż-Żabbar as well as for our country. The completion of the restoration of such a landmark is a clear example that as a Government, we are committed to preserving our monuments and sites, especially those which carry historical significance that defines our past—the foundation which has provided us with such a rich cultural legacy. Through these projects, we are strengthening our cultural product”, culture minister Owen Bonnici said during the inauguration.

 Parliamentary Secretary for Local Government and Communities Silvio Parnis said Hompesh Gate is an important historical heritage site, both for the locality of Ħaż-Żabbar as well as for our country, therefore it is imperative that we protect it. 

Hompesch Gate was built in 1801, on the initiative of the people of Ħaż-Żabbar to honour Grand Master John Ferdinand Von Hompesch zu Bolheim, who, in 1797, had declared Ħaż-Żabbar a city, giving it the title of Citta Gratiosae Hompesch.  The gate, with a single arched opening, was built in neoclassical style with its East and West elevations having different architectural treatments. The historical importance of the gate is corroborated by its inclusion in the national Antiquities List of 1925, its scheduling as a Grade 1 national monument, and its inclusion in the National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands.

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