Heritage Malta is celebrating the 40th anniversary since UNESCO declared the Ġgantija Temples a World Heritage Site in 1980 – the year that also saw Valletta and the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum being given the same recognition.
Heritage Malta’s Chief Executive Officer, Noel Zammit, said that this anniversary is not only important for the prestigious recognition bestowed upon Ġgantija in itself, but even more for the values that it represents. “The title ‘World Heritage Site’ has great significance because it is UNESCO’s declaration that the site is of outstanding importance and represents something unique to humanity, and therefore needs to be protected and preserved,” said Mr Zammit.
In 1992, Ġgantija’s inscription in the UNESCO World Heritage Site List was extended to include the Temples of Ħaġar Qim, Mnajdra, Ta’ Ħaġrat and Skorba. Collectively, these sites represent a unique architectural tradition that was highly innovative and accomplished for its time.
Beyond the prestige, the title of ‘World Heritage Site’ comes with a duty to make sound decisions to safeguard the integrity and authenticity of these unique sites. Heritage Malta honours this commitment by implementing a number of measures which ensure their protection and preservation.
At the Ġgantija Temples these include, inter alia, the implementation of a conservation plan which requires Heritage Malta’s stone conservators to carry out regular interventions to protect the stone fabric of the site. Heritage Malta has also embarked on a project which aims to find solutions to improve the structural stability of part of the temples’ facade. UNESCO has allocated funds to this project, which have been utilised to purchase a set of movement sensors which enable the collection of data that is necessary to inform future decisions on the subsequent phases of this project.