The restoration of the historic covered market of Valletta, Malta

Lino Bianco, David Busuttil

Rezumat/Abstract. Inspired by Les Halles Centrales, Paris, the 19th-century Valletta Market served as a blueprint for similar structures in Europe and elsewhere. This remnant of British Colonial architecture, located in the capital of mainland Malta, underwent a number of alterations from 1945 until the early 1980s. The first was a reduction in the length of the structure due to damage sustained in the Blitz of the Second World War, followed by a series of transformations of the internal layout in the 1980s, which impacted on the spirit and feel of the building. Extensive restoration of the building was undertaken over the years 2016-17 and the building was re-opened as food court in the beginning of 2018, the year when Valletta was the European Capital for Culture. A critical assessment of the restoration works indicates that although new interventions did comply with the scientific rigour envisaged by contemporary conservation and practice, the cultural significance of this building was in some ways tampered with.

Cuvinte cheie/Key words: cultural heritage, adaptive re-use, Valletta, is-Suq tal-Belt, Les Halles Centrales

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