The splendid aqueduct built in the reign of Grand Master Fra Alof de Wignacourt, between 1610 and 1614, transported a constant supply of good drinking water to Valletta. Over 15 kilometres long, the aqueduct mostly ran underground, but was carried on a series of stone arches where depressions were encountered along the route.
The construction of the aqueduct was recorded on a marble tablet fixed to a decorated archway at Fleur-de-Lys. It was destroyed during World War II and never replaced. The inscription read: Hac valletta tenus functum jacuisse cadaver visa est; nunc laticas spiritus intus alit: incubuit primus olim, ceu spiritus, undis, spiritus enixa, sic modo fertur acqua (So far Valletta was a corpse, now, the spirit of water revives her; as once the first spirit moved on the water, so now, that water has been led to her, the spirit returns".
Recently, the surviving aqueducts have been restored to their magnificent glory with the addition of sculptured flood lighting to enhance their beauty by night. The excellent work has been carried out by the Ministry for Resources and Infrastructure. This is just one of many projects undertaken by the ministry in recent years.
This series is appearing every Saturday in collaboration with Miranda Publishers.