Thursday, July 12, 2007
The Lascaris Gardens
Another summer and here in the UK the weather leaves much to be desired. It is a shame that my last entry reads February 2007 - that's five months ago.
The Sunday Times of Malta today has a story about the Grandmaster Lascaris' Mall just outside Valletta Gate. These gardens have just been given a new lease of life with "4,000 square metres of paving" as well as restoration of the boundary wall an installation of a new lighting system. I do suggest if you do visit the islands in these days, that you go and have a visit in the evening (It's only 10 to 15 minutes walk from Valletta G-House).
The thing that I did not know before reading the article was the original use of the area. Grandmaster Lascaris, whose unsuccessful ban on carnival made him so unpopular with the Knights and the Maltese public, originally built the place for the Knights as a gym. The Knights used it to practice sports, including gymnastics. It was only on the arrival of the British that the place was reborn as a garden.
I do remember the bronze statue of Grandmaster Manoel de Vilhena that stood at one end of the garden, in the place of the Independence monument. The old statue is now close to the American Embassy, not far off where it stood before.
The Maltese Prime Minister will today be inaugurating the restored garden. Perhaps while he is there, he could have a look at the horrible blot on the entrance of Valletta that is the private Parking. I do recall that in the original plans, the multi storey parking had to be roofed and covered to look like a garden. Why is it that the owners were allowed to go back on the original plans? A lot of years have passed but I am sure that pressure can be put on the owners to keep to their word?