Works have started on a restoration project for Greeks Gate and the adjoining medieval fortifications, Culture Minister Owen Bonnici announced on Tuesday.
Greeks Gate is the second most important entrance to Mdina and its oldest. It was built in the medieval period but its outer portal was rebuilt in the baroque style in 1724 when much of Mdina was transformed under the direction of military engineer Charles François de Mondion.
The reason why it is known as Greeks Gate is unclear. Some suggest a small Greek community once lived close to the gate (St Nicholas chapel is nearby).
Architect Maria Roberta Mallia, who is responsible for the restoration works, said that the project will see the cleaning of the facades from biological growth, black crusts and other deposits, the removal of cement render that may have been used on the walls over the years, the pointing of open joints with a lime-based mortar, the repair and replacement of deteriorated stone and the restoration of the timber apertures within the gate.
Mallia said that the wall adjacent to the gate is part of medieval fortifications that were influenced by the style of Byzantine military architecture, with the visible section of the wall reusing Roman-era blocks which were then tipped by small stones. Most of the inner wall is hidden behind the houses that line Inguanez Street.
The works are expected to be completed by November and are being overseen by the Restoration and Preservation Division.
“These works will not only enhance our touristic product but also safeguard the important elements which contribute so much to the beauty of Mdina,” he said.