Project Description

The main landward entrance into Valletta was Porta San Giorgio or as better known as Porta Reale, which commenced in 1566 and was completed in 1569 by the Order of St. John to designs of Francesco Laparelli or of Girolamo Cassar, located between St. James’ and St. John’s Bastions. In 1586, additions were made to the gate and renamed Porta Reale, including a wooden drawbridge across the deep ditch.

The gate was demolished in 1633 during the sovereignty of Grand Master Antoine de Paule and a more ornate central gate with a smaller arch at each side was built and attributed to Tommaso Dingli.  In 1853, the gate was again demolished and the British administration replaced it with a gate consisting of two main large arches and a smaller arch on each side for pedestrians, to the design of Lieutenant-Colonel Francis Ringler Thomson.

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The fourth and last City Gate, designed by architect Alziro Bergonzo and built in the Italian Rationalist style, was commenced in 1964 and completed a year later. The gate which was highly criticised was meant to be part of a regeneration of the space within the gate and the rebuilding of the Royal Opera House, but which never materialised. Instead, a large square was formed to the right, surrounded by a high arcade of a similar style and including numerous shops. In 1998, architect Renzo Piano submitted plans for a new entrance into Valletta but did not materialise.  The project was revised in 2008, new plans were submitted and the gate was demolished in 2011. In reality, the new gate is just 8 meters wide, a breach, which is supposed to compress movement during the crossing.

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