An immersive audiovisual experience will further enhance visits to Underground Valletta in the coming days.
The experience is the result of a project funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade through its Cultural Diplomacy Fund, and by Heritage Malta.
The project focuses on three aspects that stood out in the life of civilians in Malta and in the allied countries during World War II, namely shelter, famine and resistance. The project’s objective is to unite people from different countries through these shared experiences.
The immersive experience tackles the shelter aspect by showcasing how, during the war, whole communities had to resort to underground areas where they cooked, ate, slept, prayed and even gave birth. One of the roles of Valletta’s underground spaces was, in fact, that of a shelter throughout the war. Residents of the Grand Harbour area were urged to leave their homes and seek refuge with family members living in rural villages, but there were still many people who chose to stay on in the capital and who descended into the spaces now known as Underground Valletta whenever the air raid alarm was sounded.
The Minister for National Heritage, Arts and Local Government Owen Bonnici, the Minister for Foreign and European Affairs and Trade Ian Borg, together with the British High Commissioner for the Republic of Malta H.EKatherine Ward, and the Ambassador of the French Republic to the Republic of Malta H.E. Agnès von der Mühl visited Underground Valletta.
During this visit, Dr. Owen Bonnici, explained how this experience show the continious determination to keep preserving the National Heritage. “This experience is an immersive one and is a clear testimony that one will be able to explore and discover as well as learn, places like these are a very important learning experience for our country,” concluded Dr. Bonnici
“Through this project we are aiming to continue raising awareness about the aspects that stood out during the Second World War which even reflect the times we are presently living in and therefore the importance to fight for more peace and unity. Our country has been entrusted and Malta will be voicing its opinion in the United Nations Security Council from next January. Furthermore, the importance of neutrality which our country embraces, a very important tool through which Malta will continue to offer humanitarian aid and will continue to work in favour of peace in the Mediterranean and in neighbouring regions.”
The audiovisual experience also outlines the Maltese population’s hardships due to a dire shortage of food as the war raged on. Suffice it to say that in October 1942, some 100,000 people depended on the Victory Kitchen for their daily meals.
With regard to the aspect of resistance, visitors of Underground Valletta will see how countries such as Malta resisted enemy occupation on a national, rather than an individual, level. This resistance was acknowledged with the award of the George Cross by King George VI to Malta in April 1942, in appreciation of the people’s sacrifice, loyalty and resilience.
The immersive experience will be included in the normal admission price for Underground Valletta until the end of November. During this period, Underground Valletta will be open every day of the week. Tickets may be purchased from the National Museum of Archaeology or online from here.