After being closed for months for conservation works, the project at the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum was inaugurated today by Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government Dr Owen Bonnici, accompanied by Parliamentary Secretary for EU Presidency 2017 and EU Funds Dr Ian Borg, and CEO of Heritage Malta, Mr Kenneth Gambin.
The project was supported by a grant of €1.1m from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Grants 2009-2014.This made it possible for Heritage Malta to conduct the necessary studies so as to assess the current condition of the site in terms of conservation, geology and organic residues.
Another important element of the project involved the installation of a micro-climate management system, with both passive and active control measures. Passive measures included the replacement of the existing insulated roof sheeting which covers the monument to eliminate rainwater leakage, improvement of the insulation of the external walls and elimination of fabric-lined wall-panelling and flooring. Active measures involved the installation of an advanced environmental management system designed to keep humidity and temperature levels stable, at the levels required for the preservation of the site. This system incorporates some elements of the previous design, but makes use of better and more efficient technology.
Additional works also included the investigation and replacement of overlying connections to water mains and sewers, as well as new visitor facilities which make better use of the limited space within the building.
The Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum, an underground prehistoric cemetery used from around 4000BC to 2500BC, is one of the most extraordinary archaeological sites in the world. It has been recognised by UNESCO as a site that ‘bears unique testimony to a civilization which has disappeared’.
The public can start visiting the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum as from the 15th of May.
Tickets are always in high demand and therefore it is recommended that these are purchased well in advance.
Tickets are available online: https://booking.heritagemalta.org/