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Author nfmungard
#1 | Posted: 19 Dec 2016 03:56 
Looking at my yearly Easter trip and considering doing a weekend in Malta before heading over to Sicily. As such, I would obviously like to tick off all of the 3 Maltese sites, but the Hypogeum is closed for the time being.

Anyone (Clyde) know if (when) they plan to reopen?

Author meltwaterfalls
#2 | Posted: 19 Dec 2016 05:51 
The only thing I have turned up is that according to the original grant the project was due to complete on 30.04.17

Bad timing for you if that is true. However these projects do tend to over run, so it may not be quite as close.

Author clyde
#3 | Posted: 19 Dec 2016 12:07 
I'm afraid the Hypogeum is closed at the moment and won't be open before summer 2017 :(

Instead, I'd highly recommend taking the ferry to Gozo to take in the Ggantija Megalithic Temple as well as the tentative newly restored fortifications of Victoria, Gozo (aka Cittadella). Don't miss a visit to Mdina (Malta) too.

I'm sure these sites will make up for the Hypogeum, which will be a good enough excuse to revisit in the future.

Author nfmungard
#4 | Posted: 20 Dec 2016 01:40 | Edited by: nfmungard 
I'm sure these sites will make up for the Hypogeum, which will be a good enough excuse to revisit in the future.

Me ... Not much of a repeat visitor :D

Thanks meltwaterfalls and clyde for the feedback. Will go ahead and cut down to 8-9 sites 10 days. Still not to bad ;)

Author clyde
#5 | Posted: 30 Mar 2017 15:40 
The Hypogeum is to reopen as of 15th May 2017 and regular tour tickets can already be booked online for 35euros! For an extra 5 euros one can also go for an audiovisual tour.

Author meltwaterfalls
#6 | Posted: 30 Mar 2017 17:11 
€35 for a tour, yikes anything that makes the Tower of London look affordable is putting itself at the very premium end of WHS.

Author Solivagant
#7 | Posted: 3 May 2019 04:39 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Ralf Regele's recent review of the T List "Knights Fortifications around the Harbours of Malta" with the "confusion" about its scope which he has rightly identified, has stimulated me to look into this T List site a bit more.

1. We only have 1 location identified for this T List site on our maps - at Fort St Angelo. There are clearly more locations than this and, despite the opaque nature of the UNESCO Web site entry, I have identified 7 - 4 Forts and 3 defensive "Lines". Only one of the forts (St Elmo) is already inscribed as a part of the Valletta City WHS - but nothing else. Interestingly, Fort St Angelo is NOT one of the ones mentioned on the UNESCO page (though its inclusion is stated in its Wiki entry)!!! I think that identifying them on our map will provide a bit more clarity over what this site is about and its relationship to the existing WHS of "Valletta".
2. Malta tried to gain inscription for the site back in 1999 but it was deferred with the very positive recommendation from ICOMOS that "This nomination can only be treated as an extension of the existing inscription of the City of Valletta, inscribed on the World Heritage List under criteria i and vi. ICOMOS has no doubts about the cultural significance of the fortifications, which it considers to form a single unity with the historic city. In the event of this extension being approved by the World Heritage Committee, criteria ii and iii should be added." Quite why, in the intervening 20 years, Malta hasn't pushed against this open door and nominated it as an extension isn't clear. Especially given the enthusiasm and effort which must have gone into producing the original Nomination. However - ICOMOS DID also identify problems as follows - "At the present time, all the elements nominated are not protected formally as listed monuments under the Antiquities (Protection) Act 1925. This omission should be rectified. Whilst there is a number of land-use plans in force that cover most of the fortifications, there is a need for a master conservation plan for the totality." It could be that these issues still haven't been covered - perhaps Clyde could use his national contacts to clarify this matter??
3. Ralf Regele questioned whether the nomination would also include the "Victoria Lines" which are situated around q16kms outside the Valletta area. There seems no reason to think that it did or would - ICOMOS certainly didn't state that it should. Whether that leaves any residual OUV for the Victoria Lines as a potential separate WHS isn't clear!
4. So here are my suggestions for the 7 locations for this TWHS, together with coordinates and links to their Wiki entries
Fort Ricasoli 35.897307, 14.526445
Fort Tigne 35.906407, 14.513315
Fort St Elmo 35.901031, 14.518826
Fort St Angelo 35.892517, 14.517850
Floriana Lines (San Salvatore Bastion) 35.893685, 14.500985
Sta Margherita Lines (Sta Margherita Bastion) 35.881115, 14.525206
Cottonera Lines (St Nicolas Bastion) 35.875868, 14.523616

PS. Should Valletta not be included in the Connection for "Inscribed WHS (or parts thereof) that are still mentioned on the official Tentative List of the State Party.[i][/i] " - for the already inscribed St Elmo

Author elsslots
#8 | Posted: 4 May 2019 00:05 
I've added the locations and the connection. The map of this TWHS looks neat now!

Author Ralf
#9 | Posted: 4 May 2019 03:04 
I am now back from my quest to visit all of Malta's tentative list. And yes, I did have some trouble finding information about what is nominated exactly. Worst offender was the "Coastal Cliff" site. Which leads me to the question: How do you find data about this stuff ? I only used the text description on the Unesco page - which sometimes does not give much details. I suspect that there are more detailed lists and maps when a site is nominated ? Is there any way to access them ?

Author elsslots
#10 | Posted: 4 May 2019 03:21 | Edited by: elsslots 
I suspect that there are more detailed lists and maps when a site is nominated ? Is there any way to access them ?

They mostly once come available AFTER a site has been inscribed. Then you'll find them at the Documents page at the Unesco page for each site, for example:

Sometimes, you'll find some info a few months before that. For 2019 nominations, see

And the more active TWHS in more affluent countries often have nomination websites with all the details.

But in general I would say, finding any info on a non-active TWHS is difficult. For the Valletta fortifications, the advantage there was that it has been discussed at the WHC Bureau meeting of 1999. So there are notes from that nomination , I guess Solivagant used those

Author Solivagant
#11 | Posted: 4 May 2019 04:22 | Edited by: Solivagant 
I guess Solivagant used those

Yes, I did.
There is no easy answer - just a lot of Googling to see what you can turn up! Sometimes there are learned articles, sometimes IUCN or ICOMOS reports, sometimes other organisations like the "World Monument Fund" provide information since potential sites are often restored with their help in the years between appearance on a T List and preparation of a Nomination File .
And then there is always Wiki - its "References" at the end of articles are often very useful

Regarding use of the UNESCO Web site - It is worth noting that T List entries don't have the "documents" tab which is present for inscribed sites and provides a (sometimes incomplete!) history of discussions about the sites at UNESCO. At this point you need to make use of the "added value" provided by this Web site!!! Search the "Forum" as there may have been a discussion. Also -the "Community" has put a lot of effort into searching through ALL the WHC and Bureau meetings from the very start in order to identify the history of T List sites -when they first appeared , got amended and (in the case of "former" sites") got removed. The history of any previous nominations is also present - as for this one. We don't currently have a direct link to the record of the meetings but, if you find that a site was nominated and deferred in (say) 1991, then go to the UNESCO Web site and access the papers for the 1991 meetings, download the PDF for the nominations that year and search through the document. Sometimes (particularly in early years) sites were discussed only at a Bureau and not at a WHC - so you might need to look at the documents for each. But if we have "discovered" an event then the info must be there somewhere!!

Further to "Knights Fortifications" -
Its full title ("Knights fortifications around the harbours of Malta") creates both issues and clues.
a. Why "HarbourS of Malta" - Malta does have harbours situated well away from those around Valletta - might they be included? It would appear that, although the many harbours in that area might all be assumed to be a part of the single "Valletta" harbour by us who live outside Malta, those who live there see these themselves as separate ones - hence the use of the plural for a number of different harbours situated very close together!
b. The phrase also limits the site to fortifications around "Harbours" which excludes the "Victoria Lines"
c. The phrase "Knights Fortifications" would seem to place some further temporal and geographic limits on which Fortifications should be included. Wiki has an Article titled "Fortifications of Malta" which highlights those relating to the Knights Hospitaller 1530-78. This would seem to confirm that "Harbour area" fortifications are one category and that fortifications at Mdina and Gozo's Cittadella can be excluded as well as those merely categorised as "Coastal Fortifications".

Following a re-reading of the Wiki article I think we should add a further 2 locations to the "Knights Fortifications" T List site
Fort Manoel 35.903035, 14.505448
Fort Senglea (St Michael Bastion) 35.884569, 14.518912
(both Wiki articles specifically refer to them as being included within this T List site)

Author elsslots
#12 | Posted: 4 May 2019 06:17 
We don't currently have a direct link to the record of the meetings but

Would be good to have indeed, I'll look into it.

Author Solivagant
#13 | Posted: 4 May 2019 06:28 | Edited by: Solivagant 
And yes, I did have some trouble finding information about what is nominated exactly. Worst offender was the "Coastal Cliff" site

So – let's have a look at it!! We currently have only one location identified for it so far in our record/maps – the UNESCO description alone shows that this must be incomplete. And the location identified doesn't seem to be directly situated on any "cliffs"!

The UNESCO page for this T List site (top right) states in its "Coordinate" section - "Malta, Ghawdex, Kemmuna, Kemmunett islet and Filfla islet (Central Mediterranean)".
So, presumably, 4 different locations - all on " Malta"??? But "Malta" as "Country" or as "Island"
Ghawdex – the local name for the Island of Gozo There are indeed a number of very famous "cliffs" on Gozo. E.g the Wied il-Mielah Window
Kemmuna – the local name for the Island of Comino. We either use the island centre of choose a specific cliff?
Kemmunett Islet – or "Cominotto" – a small island situated off Comino with the famous "Blue Lagoon" tourist attraction between them
Fifla Islet – an islet 5kms south of Malta

But, with all of these being on different islands with none of them on that of Malta itself, the only conclusion I draw is that the first-named "Malta" also represents a separate "location" making 5 in all - but where in/on "Malta"??

The Description only mentions the following location on the island of Malta
"The Ghar Lapsi-Mnajdra area on the southwestern coast of mainland Malta"
Our single identified location to date is indeed on the SW coast of Malta.
The UNESCO description also states that "the endemic snail Lampedusa melitensis occupies a very precarious habitat of a few tens of square metres on a small area of boulders on the south-west cliffs of Malta". This IUCN Web site identifies the snail's small location just SW of Dingli -
Our current "location" coordinates are a bit further SE (but not directly on the "cliff"). Ghar-Lapsi is further SE along the coast and Mnajdra further still. I suspect that the intention would be to nominate the entire cliff area from somewhere NW of Dingli as far south as the Blue Grotto. But - with the direct link to the UNESCO description and its location right on the cliff face, I would suggest that the "snail location" could best "represent" Malta's SW cliffs? I can find nothing on the UNESCO site or elsewhere on the Web which suggests any other location on the Main Island of Malta which might be intended for this T List entry. Surprisingly, this area of SW cliffs doesn't figure among Malta's Natural Parks or registrations on other lists such as "Natura 2000" - see here.

So. I would suggest the following 5 locations and coordinates for "Coastal Cliffs of Malta"
Malta SW Cliffs (e.g nr Dingli) 35.853628, 14.374741
Gozo (Ghawdex. e.g Wied il-Mielah Window) 36.079059, 14.212977
Comino (Kemmuna. e.g Lantern Point) 36.004024, 14.325099
Kemmunett Islet (Cominotto) 36.013679, 14.319919
Fifla Islet 35.787346, 14.409365

To what extent does that coincide with your assessment/experience Ralf??? We have visited Gozo and the SW cliff area, so "claim" the tick - but, as with so many Natural sites, it can be difficult to pick up the OUV on a quick "pass through" and couldn't really claim to have bottomed it. In this case it seems to consist of Ecosystems (particularly some endemic plants ets as examples of evolution) and Geology/geomorphology. This latter might include the more scenic aspects of caves etc known to tourists but the description doesn't seem to be majoring on them and is rather academic. All in all - a bit of a "Niche" site. Does the List need any more sites illustrating "evolutionary processes at work" or "marine erosional features"?!! I note that "Kemmunett also supports a lizard population that presents some colour variation from populations found on the other islands of the archipelago and may therefore be a distinct subspecies." - but am still not persuaded to go back and chase them down! When sites try to claim uniqueness because of a possible "subspecies" you suspect that they are scraping the barrel.

Author Ralf
#14 | Posted: 4 May 2019 07:52 
Honestly, my impression was that the nomination text had itself no clear view about what cliffs are included and what not, and pretty much includes the complete maltese coast (including all islands). Your selection seems to cover the most discussed spots, but the text does also mention ta'cenc (gozo south coast), and the cliffs of Qammieh, Gebel Imbark (north-west malta), Il-Mara (south end of malta), Rdum il-Hmar (north-east malta), Tal-Pitkal (dingli area), Ghajn Melel+Ghajn Znuber (west coast north of dingli), Xlendi (gozo, between ta'cenc and dwwejra) . A quick google search seems to place these cliffs all over Malta (probably only excluding the parts which are not already covered by harbour fortifications :).
From my visit, I could see that the Dingli Cliff area (and all the way south) does have the kind of steep, high cliffs that are mentioned in the text. Comino has rocky cliffs all around the island, with cominotto/kemmunett island just being an extension of the rock coast. But the whole coastline of Malta is made out of rock - which makes it very difficult to find the limits of the site proposal.

Author Kbecq
#15 | Posted: 4 May 2019 07:55 

Regarding the first question: we visited Malta and most (all?) of the knights fortifications last year, and guess the title mentions "HarbourS" because some fortifications are not part of Valletta but of other cities (Birgu, Senglea, Floriana, ...). Also, the part north of Valletta is called Marsamxett harbour while the southern part is called Grand harbour.

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