Maltese modeller brilliantly recreates Valletta’s ‘lost gem’

With its stunning architecture, it was once of one of the most beautiful buildings in Malta.

Things changed in 1942, when the majestic Theatre Royal in Valletta was devastated during a wartime air raid.

But now one of Malta’s most talented model makers has recreated the iconic building’s glory days in miniature.

Robert Zammit from Senglea spent several months working on his version of the Royal Opera House – and it’s a brilliant work of art.

He told Bay Retro: ‘I’ve been working on this model for the past three years, although I started my first model around 30 years ago.

‘I then left it half-finished on a shelf because I was too busy doing other things.’

The real Theatre Royal was originally built in Valletta in 1866.

Less than seven years later disaster struck when it was destroyed by fire before it was eventually rebuilt and re-opened in 1877.

Over the years the grand building on Kingsway hosted hundreds of concerts, dramas, comedy plays and musicals, entertaining tens of thousands of people.

Disaster struck a second time during the Second World War.

On Tuesday 7 April 1941 the front half of the building was devastated by a bomb during an air raid by the Luftwaffe in 1942 during the Second World War.

The site was eventually cleared and used as a car park until the late 1990s.

The surviving original structure now hosts an open air theatre which was designed by the world-renowned architect Renzo Piano.

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