The Grand Harbour Regeneration Corporation is currently leading a €4.2m regeneration project of Floriana’s Maglio Gardens, commonly known as Il-Mall.
The Mall is a promenade of 400 yards lined with trees and ponds. It was built by Grandmaster Lascaris in 1656 for the recreation of the Knights. Until the year 1942, the gardens were enclosed by high walls but, after the war, these walls were replaced by a lower boundary wall with iron railings to be visible from the street.
The name “Mall” is derived from a then popular game (Maglio) played by the Knights, which consisted of a fairly large wooden sphere which had to be pushed along a path (Golf style) by a heavy mallet, the winner being the one who reaches the target with a predetermined number of strokes.
Nine monuments commemorating prominent Maltese personalities are located along this garden. The Mall lies along an axis stretching from Fort St Elmo at the tip of Valletta, along Republic Street, along the Mall and on to St Philip Bastion. The garden was opened to the public by Sir Alexander Ball, Governor of Maltese Islands, in the name of King George III.
The €4.2m investment is intended to improve the aesthetic quality of this garden and the area to better complement the aesthetic of City Gate, Pjazza Tritoni, Biskuttin and Argotti Garden. This project includes 7,500 square metres of new paving and will use special paving for people with impaired vision. Works include upgrading of the space in front of the Examinations Department, new handrails around monuments, restoration of the boundary wall, arches and monuments and the boundary wall railing and rebuilding of the fountain. Additionally, a new lighting system inside and outside the garden as well as other service works will be included.
GHRC Chairman Anthony Agius Decelis made an appeal to the general public to take care of these projects in which the government, through the Ministry for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects together with the GHRC, is investing millions in funds to regenerate several places which were abandoned for years by preceding administrations. “It is now up to the Maltese people to see that these places are not vandalised and are maintained up to the level at which this government is returning them to the people,” said Mr Agius Decelis.