On the occasion of the fourth anniversary since taking the oath of office as President of Malta, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca inaugurated new staterooms at San Anton Palace, following a four-year project of restoration and development.
The President said that by means of this project, “we are bringing San Anton Palace to its former glory, and also ensuring that the different historical periods are duly represented”, adding that she feels truly proud of the work that has been achieved so far to safeguard our Maltese built heritage for the benefit of the people of the Maltese islands.
President Coleiro Preca announced that the seven new staterooms forming part of this project have been named after various statesmen and stateswomen as well as other historical personalities, who have all contributed to the history of Malta and Gozo. These include Sala Antoine de Paule, Sala Agatha Barbara, Librerija Anton Buttigieg, Sala Ugo Mifsud Bonnici, Sala Pawlu Xuereb, Sala Censu Tabone, and the Mikiel Anton Vassalli Suite where state guests are to be hosted.
“Moreover, the present staterooms: the Drawing Room, the Dining Room, and the Grandmasters’ Suite, have also been named after three former presidents, namely, Sala Guido De Marco, Sala Eddie Fenech Adami, and Sala George Abela respectively”, said the President.
She also stated that ever since the beginning of her presidency, “we have also focused on the importance of promoting our uniquely Maltese identity and heritage”, and said that she is proud to say that this identity is perfectly expressed in the architectural and cultural heritage of our islands, which connects us to the values and the traditions of our ancestors, while also guiding us into the future.
“The respectful and sustainable restoration of San Anton Palace to its former glory, and beyond, would not have been possible without the work and dedication, of a diverse team of professionals, experts and crafts-people”, stated President Coleiro Preca.
She went on to say that by bringing the talents of this diverse and able team to this project, “we have succeeded in renovating many parts of the palace to their original splendour”, adding that, in this way, “we have worked together, to ensure that San Anton Palace continues to flourish in the 21st Century”.
San Anton Palace is evidence of the many layers of our nation’s history and a clear example of our complex identity as the people of Malta.
The President said that this successful project is evidence of how essential it is to keep creating opportunities for collaboration between national authorities, the private sector and civil society, to protect and preserve our cultural and architectural heritage. She continued by stating that such preservation, “is not only important from an educational perspective, but is also important in terms of historical research, and the strong link that our heritage provides to our own sense of Maltese identity”.
President Coleiro Preca added that besides investing in the renovation and upkeep of San Anton Palace, studies to make the palace more ecologically sustainable have also been supported during the presidency.
“Moreover, we have also invested in the restoration of the original 400-year old water reservoir, which supports 1.8m litres of water, and which will be used for the irrigation of the Palace Gardens and orange grove”, said the President.
Malta is so rich in its heritage, that regardless of what we do, there will always be more that can be done
The President encouraged national authorities, the private sector and civil society to continue to do more to bring together the knowledge of the past and the demands of today, adding that a similar holistic approach should also be invested in, so that it could be applied to other heritage buildings in Malta.
“San Anton Palace is an ideal model for other heritage buildings, seeking to create a balance between respectful restoration and cultural integrity”, concluded President Coleiro Preca.