Heritage Malta will be officially inaugurating the new ERDF funded project at St Paul’s Catacombs this Friday 2nd October. An Open Day will be held on Sunday 4th October.
The project which was undertaken by Heritage Malta is worth €9.2 million, 85% of which is co-financed through the European Regional Development Funds (Cohesion Policy 2007 – 2013, Operational Programme I – Investing in Competitiveness for a Better Quality of Life). Apart from the works at St Paul’s Catacombs, the Archaeological Heritage Conservation Project included also the conservation and embellishment of two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Ġgantija Temples and Tarxien Temples.
St Paul’s Catacombs are an outstanding example of Malta’s catacombs and are also on the tentative list for future inscription as a World Heritage Site.
The new extended site includes a visitor centre incorporating all amenities and interpretation facilities and a walkway which provides access around the site. The project also incorporated a number of scientific studies, including archaeological research, environmental studies and ground penetrating radar scans, the construction of new visitor facilities, 3D navigation through parts of the site, new interpretation of the site and its different phases, and access to previously inaccessible areas and to a number of catacombs.
The site’s interpretation includes a number of audio-visuals with information on various aspects of the site. Heritage Malta has also implemented an interactive immersive experience of the Catacombs through a setup of virtual reality goggles and 3D navigation systems using the Oculus Rift technology. While this technology is still a prototype, the experience is “one of a kind”. This system has been implemented in conjunction with St Martin’s Institute of IT and is intended to give an experience of the St Paul’s catacombs, especially to those who cannot physically visit the tombs.
This Sunday, during the Open Day, visitors will be able to experience all these new developments for FREE.