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24 September 2011
New look for Ggantija temples

The Ggantija Temples are the most popular heritage site in Malta, and a lot of work has gone into restoring their structural integrity. The site now offers an enhanced visitor experience thanks to a direct investment of €200,000 by the Vodafone Malta Foundation.
     The new project incorporates two new lightweight walkways which will now take visitors straight into the heart of the temples. The project also includes an interactive digital and virtual tour of Ggantija. The Temples have also been decked out with an environmental monitoring station which measures exposure to environmental elements and the site has been made safer with the installation of a remote security system. In the first four months of 2011 Ggantija had the highest visitor numbers for all Heritage Malta sites, amounting to 44,436.
     Thanks to the construction of two walkways inside Ggantija, visitors will have full access to the temples. This structure protects the original prehistoric floors while providing visitors with better visibility. Another element which will further enhance the visitors' experience is the Vodafone Ggantija Interactive DVD-ROM which is a digitised version of the site with impressive 360 degrees photography, along with detailed descriptions of each of the areas of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
     Gozo Minister Giovanna Debono explained that the Vodafone Ggantija Project will continue to strengthen the government's endeavours to restore and conserve Gozo's rich cultural heritage. Another project which the Ministry for Gozo intends to implement relates to a conservation plan and the founding of the Ggantija Archaeological Park that will include an equipped Visitors' Centre allowing for a collection of prehistoric remains to be permanently exhibited close to where such remains were found.
      Balesh Sharma, chief executive officer of Vodafone Malta said: "We understand that the preservation of historic sites such as Ggantija is extremely costly. Vodafone is proud to be a main contributor to Maltese heritage and through our Foundation we make efforts to contribute back to the community we operate in." Since its very beginning the Foundation has donated more than €2 million to local causes across Malta and Gozo.
      The Ggantija temples were erected around 3500 BCE and are reputed to be among the very first free standing structures in the world. It has survived extraordinary well, its walls in places still standing to a height of seven metres. There are two adjacent temples, the southern one on the left having had part of its wall removed to allow the northern one to be built up against it.

Edited from The Malta Independent (24 September 2011)

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