Although many might have thought otherwise, thermal baths actually exist in Malta, and they’re at the tip of the shore of Bighi L-Kalkara, right below the Explora Centre, as featured by TVM!
That’s right, we have thermal baths that were used by the British for patients in need of thermal care. However, some of them were lost over time whilst others suffered natural corrosion so now, the remaining structures are at risk of complete lost and must be restored ASAP.
These thermal baths formed part of the naval hospital which had begun construction in 1827 and nowadays houses the Explora Centre.
The President of the Artna Heritage Foundation, Mario Farrugia, said that even at that time, people considered the health benefits of seawater, which is rich in minerals like magnesium, zinc, iron, and potassium, which collectively offer anti-inflammatory treatment through the use of cold of hot seawater.
Farrugia added that due to no maintenance being implemented on these historic sites, one thermal bath has already been completely lost, sharing, ‘Protection must be done immediately in a practical way by treating, restoring, and using them.’
Farrugia also added that these thermal baths form part of the Grand Harbour panorama and can even be seen on paintings and engravings depicting scenes from the Harbour during the 19th and 20th century.
Farrugia then concluded by calling upon the authorities to save what remains of these structures and reassured them that intervention will not be costly for these iconic igloo-shaped elongated structures built at sea level.
Currently, three structures remain generally sound but they must be protected due to heavy wear and structural instability. Elsewhere, the two small sunken pump houses and boiler room, which worked the pumps and supplied the baths with water, are also in danger.
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Since these baths are a unique part of Malta’s medical and industrial history, and not to mention an integral part of the Grand Harbour’s historic landscape, their restoration is crucial.