Heritage Malta has reopened the Għar Dalam prehistoric site, which had been closed since last March to enable extensive works that will ensure a more holistic and memorable experience for visitors. These works, which have been funded by Heritage Malta with an investment of €250,000, are part of a much larger project which, once implemented, will see the Għar Dalam site form part of a park comprising four valleys and leading up to the outskirts of Ħal Safi.
The works carried out in recent months include the refurbishment of the two main halls of the Għar Dalam museum, in a style albeit reflecting the old museum, the inclusion of items on display for the first time ever, as well as the embellishment of the main entrance and the museum shop. Visitors will now also benefit from an improved interpretation service for both adults and children. For the latter, two animated characters of animals related to Għar Dalam – an elephant and a bat – have been created to recount the fascinating history of this site in a way that appeals to youngsters. For the first time ever, visitors will be aided by an audio guide when touring the site.
In the cave itself, the lighting system has been improved, while throughout the rest of the site all alien flora has been removed and replaced by indigenous species. The site now also includes an educational garden, named Ġnien Dinja Waħda, where teachers may go with their students for interactive lessons in contact with nature.
At a press conference on the reopening of the Għar Dalam site, Minister for National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government José Herrera stated that in each project and initiative Heritage Malta always proves its ability to be proactive and to anticipate visitors’ wishes and exceed them. Undoubtedly, the Għar Dalam site offers yet another occasion to be proud of Heritage Malta’s achievements. Minister Herrera stated that in Budget 2021 the government has committed €3 million for the improvement and restoration of museums and historical sites managed by Heritage Malta.
Mr Mario Cutajar, Heritage Malta’s Executive Director, said that at Għar Dalam, as in other sites, Heritage Malta is offering an experience that not only satisfies visitors but also entices them to return and discover the site on a deeper level. Although plans to implement the Għar Dalam project had long been in place – and in fact the site closed its doors before the Covid-19 outbreak – the pandemic allowed the challenge to be transformed into a unique opportunity to carry out more work over a shorter period of time, Mr Cutajar said.
Heritage Malta’s CEO Mr Noel Zammit emphasised Heritage Malta’s commitment to give a future to our past, and said that the implementation of the Għar Dalam project is another attestation of adherence to this obligation. Għar Dalam is Malta’s oldest prehistoric site and it was fitting that it should regain the importance it deserves after seeing its popularity diminishing slightly for a while.
As of tomorrow, the Għar Dalam site will be open to the public in line with Public Health regulations related to the Covid-19 pandemic. More information about Għar Dalam opening times may be found on the website heritagemalta.org.