The restoration project on the eighteenth-century Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin (tal-Belliegħa) in Lija, under the guidance of the Restoration Directorate, has been completed. The project to restore the church is one of ten projects which benefitted from the Local Councils Scheme and was proposed by the Lija Local Council.
This was announced during a press conference by the Minister for National Heritage, Arts and Local Government, Owen Bonnici and Parliamentary Secretary for Local Government, Alison Zerafa Civelli.
Minister Bonnici commended the workers of the Restoration Directorate for their work on historical buildings. “Projects like these clearly demonstrate the government’s commitment to cultural heritage in our localities. These areas should be accessible to anyone who visits them while preserving the historical, cultural, and intangible heritage they contain,” stated Minister Bonnici.
Parliamentary Secretary Alison Zerafa Civelli commended the Lija Local Council and other Local Councils that have made good use of this restoration scheme and proposed the restoration of historical buildings in their localities. She encouraged other Local Councils to follow suit by submitting proposals and restoration projects as they understand best the needs of their localities.
The Mayor of Lija, Anthony Dalli stated “Through these schemes and implementation of these projects, we are taking care of our country’s cultural heritage. We have applied for further restoration in Lija to continue showcasing our locality including its history.”
The church dedicated to the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin (tal-Belliegħa) dates back to 1747 and replaces an earlier sixteenth century one dedicated to the Annunciation. All the work on this project were carried out by the Restoration Directorate.
The Architect responsible for this project, Mark Azzopardi, explained all the work that was carried out. This included an intervention to render safe the church due to damages to the lantern, repairs to the deffun roofing on the dome and roof of the church and sacristy, replacement and repairs of windows, cleaning of the façade, pointing of open joints, and the replacement of deteriorated stone.
Present for this press conference were also members of the Lija Local Council and parish priest Fr Joe Cilia.