Heritage Malta does not agree that the Neptune statue should be taken back to its original site near Valletta Harbour but feels it should be moved indoors from its current location in the palace courtyard, Tourism Minister Francis Zammit Dimech said yesterday.

He said that taking the statue of the giant back to the harbour area would expose it to detrimental natural chemical elements including sea spray. The agency felt the statue should be taken indoors to be better protected, conserved and displayed. The original stone fountain of which the statue formed part still exists at Argotti Gardens in Floriana.

The Neptune fountain was erected in 1615 by Grand Master Adolf de Wignacourt and the statue was transferred from the harbour area in Valletta to the Palace courtyard in 1858 at the time of Governor Le Merchant.

The minister was replying to a parliamentary question by Mario Galea (PN).

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