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Reservoir from Knights of St John era found under Valletta

Reservoir from Knights of St John era found under Valletta

Can you believe it? A reservoir from the time of the Knights has been discovered just underneath the entrance to St Andrew’s Ditch in the capital city of Valletta.

Announced by awareness group Il-Ġibjun and Facebook Page Belt Valletta announced the news. The former’s aim is to raise awareness regarding underground, as well as above-ground cisterns, as well as the importance of conserving water. The latter refers to the city of Valletta and promotes discussion and posting of stories related to the capital.

How was the reservoir discovered?

Well, an opening was stumbled upon and discovered by mistake on Sunday and another opening was found some time later, each with a depth of around 7.5m. The openings were flagged and reported to the authorities and cordoned off by the police, as they posed a danger.

In the meantime, employees of Clean Malta aided in the process of clearing out debris, in order to make the area safer.

What state is it in?

The structure, which was found to be one of a number of reservoirs built by the Knights for water storage in the fortified city. However, it’s not in a great state, with missing arches and broken slabs having rendered it unstable and as it stands, rather unsafe.

“It hasn’t been used since the war for sure, since it contains rubble that could indicate material from shelters that were dug near by,” Steven Mallia from Il-Ġibjun told local newspaper Times of Malta. Also found on site were pots and pans, as well as some other objects.

The reservoir, although forgotten, was indeed documented by the British and had a capacity of 1,500,000 litres!

Tours of the reservoirs

All that exists underneath our capital city has always intrigued the public, especially as of late, with Heritage Malta opening up 500-year-old tunnels for all to see, for the first time ever.

In addition, the tour also includes another reservoir, one that is located right underneath Great Siege Square, which dates back to the 16th century. At the time, as a result of a water shortage, authorities banned private gardens and required water reservoirs to be built under all houses.

Showing their engineering skills, the Knights built an aqueduct system to carry water all the way from the town of Rabat to Valletta.

Visit BirdLife for more information. The reserve is open between September and May.