The restored oratory in the Jesuits’ Church in Valletta was unveiled on Wednesday following extensive restoration works.
Further restoration of the Church’s sacristy is expected to be completed over the coming weeks.
Known as the Oratory of the Immaculate Conception, it forms part of a larger complex building that includes the Old University campus.
The works were unveiled by National Heritage Minister Owen Bonnici and architect Mark Azzopardi from the Restoration Directorate, together with Reverend Nicholas Doublet, the rector of the Jesuit Church.
The restoration of the oratory, together with that of a second oratory known as the Onorati, is set to cost €1.25m.
Bonnici said that this forms part of a €4.5 million restoration project that began in 2015 and includes the restoration of the roof, dome and bell tower of the Jesuit church as well as that of the church's facades on Merchants’ Street, Archbishop Street and St Paul’s Street.
According to Azzopardi, the works carried out included the replacement of existing services and lighting, as well as the introduction of a fire detection system.
“Studies on the existing walls and ceiling have identified the original colours which have now been reproduced. Repairs to the masonry and to the windows have been carried out and sanitary facilities in the sacristy have also been refurbished,” he said.
Reverend Nicholas Doublet described the site as “a new cultural hub at the very centre of Valletta” which will attract local and international visitors through a “varied cultural programme”.
The church is believed to be one of the oldest buildings in Valletta, dating back to 1593, although the oratory was added in the early 17th century. The architect of the oratory is unknown, although it is often attributed to Francesco Buonamici.
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