Updated with video

Amid the gentlemen’s clubs, massage parlours and bars in Paceville, a new, tranquil spot offers people the possibility of sitting down and meditating, completely cut off from the hubbub just metres away.

Fr Hilary Tagliaferro in the meditation garden.Fr Hilary Tagliaferro in the meditation garden.

This place of tranquillity – in the form of a meditation garden – has just been added to the Millennium Chapel and will open its doors towards the end of August.

Since the idea of the garden was first reported in the Times of Malta two years ago, things in Paceville have taken a more unruly turn and the need for such peaceful spaces has grown, Millennium Chapel director Fr Hilary Tagliaferro says.

The Word Meditation Garden was designed by Richard England and his assistant, Duncan Polidano, the two architects behind the chapel itself.

The space, which will be open to people of different faiths, is set on top of the two rooftops of the Wishing Others Well (Wow) centre. It is split on two levels inspired by Casiciaco and Hippo, two gardens in Italy and Algeria that played an important role in the conversion of St Augustine and in forming his first religious community.

40 quotes, printed on the garden walls, accompany a plant mentioned in the Bible and grown in Malta

A representation of the Tree of Knowledge by Noel Attard stands in the centre of the Casiciaco garden, while the Tree of Life adorns Hippo.

The atmosphere is peaceful, with birds chirping and ocean sounds in the background and sunlight bouncing off the metallic leaves of two tree sculptures.

Fr Tagliaferro, an Augustinian himself, said he asked the Poor Clares cloister nuns to select the best quotes from the book Maltese Plants in the Bible, by Peter Calamatta, which they believed would best inspire people from all walks of life.

Each one of the 40 quotes, printed on the walls of the garden, is accompanied by a plant mentioned in the Bible and grown in Malta.

The meditation garden is open to all, especially those who would not seek refuge in the Millennium Chapel but are looking for spirituality or some peace within the busy locality. The garden, which is open for reflection, meditation or yoga, is monitored by CCTV.

The Word Meditation Garden will be open from August 27 to individuals or groups of people, such as the Narcotics Anonymous service.

It will remain open late.

More information is available from http://millenniumchapel.org/.

Video: Sarah Carabott

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