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Built in 1854, the Delimara Lighthouse has long been a beacon to shipping as well as a landmark of British architecture in the southernmost tip of Malta. In March 2006 the Malta Maritime Authority entered into an agreement for the Lighthouse to be restored and administered by Din l-Art Ħelwa. This was a challenging restoration due to the high elevation of the lantern, and involved the removal of later structures which detracted from the architecture of the building.
The main phase of the restoration is now complete, and what remains is the conclusion of the bathrooms and the difficult restoration of the light mechanism, most of which is intact and in place.
The Malta Maritime Authority has already collaborated with Din l-Art Ħelwa on the restoration of Santa Marija Tower on Comino, where it funded the restoration of the Tower contributing a very significant €60,564 (Lm26,000) to save this impressive monument. With the Delimara Lighthouse, the Authority has funded €30,282 (Lm13,000) of the restoration works. Dr. Marc Bonello, Chairman of the Malta Maritime Authority (MMA), expressed his satisfaction at seeing the finalisation of this project and congratulated Din l-Art Helwa for embarking on such a challenging and ambitious undertaking. “The MMA is only too happy to be supporting such an effort, the results of which will be enjoyed by both Maltese and visitors alike” concluded Dr.Bonello.
“I am proud to be here assisting to the completion of the restoration works carried out on another treasure which forms part of our country’s history”. The Hon. Censu Galea, Minister for Competitiveness and Communications said this during a visit at the Delimara Lighthouse upon the completion of its restoration. Minister Galea continued that “With the Malta Maritime Authority’s collaboration with Din l-Art Ħelwa, we can now see the Lighthouse at Delimara restored to its former pristine glory. This teamwork with Din l-Art Ħelwa also proves the Malta Maritime Authority’s commitment to ensure the safeguarding of Malta’s historical heritage especially towards monuments that are directly linked to Malta’s maritime legacy”.
Martin Galea, Executive President of Din l-Art Ħelwa, said that the organisation was involved in a number of restoration and maintenance projects around the Maltese Islands, most of them coastal towers and forts. This particular project was challenging and important as it is one of the few monuments of its type, with the lantern mechanism intact. This would be tackled in the second phase which was due to start now. Until 1896, the Lighthouse boasted a static red lantern but this was then replaced by a more powerful gasoline lamp, operated by a hand-wound mechanism that produced beams of alternating red and white light flashed at intervals of 30 seconds. Its arc of visibility ranged from a bearing of 19 to 295 degrees up to a range of 19 nautical miles.
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