Heritage Malta is this weekend giving the public the opportunity to visit the Main Guard in Valletta, where restoration and conservation works are currently ongoing. Among other objectives, works aim to give a new lease of life to hundreds of small paintings on the walls.
The Main Guard was probably built towards the beginning of the 17th century by Grand Master Alof de Wignacourt to serve as quarters for the guards of the Grand Master’s palace, just across the square. This function was retained for more than 350 years, until the early 1970s.
During British rule, hundreds of pictures were painted on the Main Guard walls, mostly in the Officers’ Mess, where the guards ate and rested in between shifts.
Painting was one of these soldiers’ pastimes and, in fact, there are over 300 pictures, some of which were recently discovered during conservation and restoration works.
The Main Guard open weekend is being held today, October 23, and tomorrow, October 24. Admission will be free of charge. Opening times today will be from 11am until 10pm, while opening times tomorrow will be from 10am until 4pm.
On both days there will be a lecture by military expert Denis Darmanin, followed by time for questions by participants. Today’s lecture starts at 6pm while tomorrow’s is at 11am.
Admission to the lectures is free of charge, but reservation is required either at any Heritage Malta museums or site, or by sending an e-mail on [email protected] heritagemalta.org. Places are limited.
All those attending the open weekend must wear a face mask and respect social distancing measures.
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