Din l-Art Helwa, founded in 1965 as a voluntary not for profit heritage organization is proud to have been invited by Wirt iż-Żejtun to participate in its Heritage Symposium of October 2012.
As Din l-Art Helwa’s President, I have put together a compendium of essays written by the organisation’s historians, researchers and conservators for the purpose of this publication. They describe the five heritage sites located in the Southern Region of Malta which the organization has saved through restoration. The essays highlight the uniqueness of each site and their contribution to the national portfolio of cultural assets which enrich this largely unspoilt area of Malta and act as markers to the four centuries of human activity that they span.
This compendium also wishes to highlight the importance to the island of the lesser known national heritage sites which have brought activity to this region. We also trace the challenges Din l-Art Helwa has faced as an entirely self funded organization to save them from neglect, and to achieve recognition for them at a time when awareness of heritage had not yet been established. Now that they are secure from neglect, the main task remains in their upkeep and to find additional appropriate uses for them so they continue to generate interest and be relevant to today’s people. I am confident that further opportunity will be found as higher levels of awareness are reached with initiatives such as this excellent symposium.
These are the 15th C Churches of Ħal-Millieri and Bir Miftuħ with their rare frescos, the 17th C fortified country home of Torri Mamo, that ‘most beautiful of baroque churches’ the 17th C Church of Our Lady of Succour – tal-Ħniena at Qrendi and the 18th C British Lighthouse at Delimara.
Din l-Art Ħelwa
Is the President of Din l-Art Ħelwa.
Simone Mizzi has been active in Din l-Art Helwa from a very early age and her father, Judge Maurice Caruana Curran is Founder President. Simone was educated in Malta at the Convent of the Sacred Heart and at the Maria Regina Grammar School, and obtained a Diploma in French and Business Studies from the French Lycee de Londres in 1968. Married to Kenneth Mizzi, and with three sons, she pursued a career in business and is deeply involved in the preservation of culture and the built and natural heritage of Malta. She helped to establish Heritage Malta at its foundation, serving as Deputy Chairperson with the state agency till 2008, and was appointed Executive President of Din l-Art Helwa in 2011. She is also a Council Member of Europa Nostra, the pan European Federation of heritage NGOs.
The mission of Din l-Art Ħelwa is:
To promote interest in the preservation and protection of historic buildings and monuments, of places of natural beauty and features and the animal and plant life of such places, and of the character of our towns and villages, especially in relation to the problems arising from modern urban development;
To educate the public in general, especially young people, about the importance of our cultural heritage;
To stimulate the enforcement of existing lawas and the enactment of new ones for the preservation and protection of our natural, architectural and artistic heritage;
To lead by example and take on projects of restoration and repair of buildings of historical value which have been neglected or vandalised;
To hold properties in trust, on loan, lease or management agreement, or other suitable terms, and to ensure the conservation of such property for its enjoyment by the public and for the benefit of the nation;
To maintain a watchdog role and lobby the authorities for the protection of the landscape and the rich architectural and artistic legacy of the nation.
Maria Grazia Cassar
Has been on the Executive Council of Din L-Art Helwa for the past five years, co-ordinating various restoration projects and writing regularly for the organisation’s magazine Vigilo, and other local publications. She studied design at the Art and Design Centre, Valletta, and worked as an interior designer, before going on to study baroque architecture at the University of Malta.
Dr Stanley Farrugia Randon MD, DCH, MMCFD
Stanley Farrugia Randon graduated as Medical Doctor in 1997 with a further Diploma in Pediatrics, and is a specialist in Family Medicine. He is a member of various cultural and historical associations including the Malta Historical Society, Agrarian Society, the Akkademja tal-Malti, Malta Map Society and has been an active member of Din l-Art Helwa for the past 20 years. He continues to publish numerous articles in local media, and has published a number of books:
The Fishing Industry of Malta. Past, Present, Future (1994)
Co-Author in MinnĦal-Balzan (Malta, 1995)
Co-Author in Three Maltese Personalities (Malta, 1996)
Epilepsy – You can lead a normal life (Malta, 1998)
Cerebrovascular Accidents (Malta, 1999)
Multiple Sclerosis (Malta, 1999)
Co-Author in Fishes Around Maltese Waters (Malta, 2000)
Editor of St Paul. His Life, The Shipwreck, Tradition and Culture in Malta and elsewhere (Malta 2000)
Il-Ħut ta’ Malta (Malta, 2001), No 33 in series Kullana Kulturali by Pubblikazzjonijiet Indipendenza)
Heritage Saved-Historic Monuments Restored by Din l-Art Ħelwa (Malta, 2002, also available in Maltese version)
Popular Fish in the Mediterranean Sea, (Malta, 2004)
Ħut Popolari fil-Baħar Mediterran, (Malta, 2004)
Other Fish in the Mediterranean Sea, (Malta, 2005)
Ħut Ieħor fil-Baħar Mediterran, (Malta, 2005)
Comino, Filfla and St Paul’s Island (1995 and republished in 2006)
Fishing in Malta (Malta, 2007)
Is-Sajda t-Tajba (Malta, 2007)
Wignacourt Tower 400 years and its link with the chapel of St Paul (Malta, 2008)
It-Tniggis u s-Sahha (Malta, 2009)
Biodiversity in the Mediterranean Sea (2010)
WignacourtTower and Walks in St Paul’s Bay Malta, 2010)
Marine Molluscs in the Mediterranean (2011)
Hal Millieri Chapel and Village (2011)
Dr Alexander Welsh M.A.
Was born in Berwickshire, United Kingdom and read Modern History at St, John’s College, Oxford 1952-55. He was active in conservation from 1987 to 1993 in Hertfordshire where he was instrumental in the restoration of many 15th to 18th century buildings. He pursued an active career in management and management training with important international businesses in Hong Kong where he was a member of the Antiquities and Monuments Commission with the Hong Kong Government. He retired in Malta in 1933 where he joined Din l-Art Helwa as a volunteer.
Andy has led numerous restoration and research projects in Malta and was successful in obtaining a Silver Medal Award for Din l-Art Helwa from Europa Nostra in 2001 after having led the challenging research and rehabilitation project of the neo-classic MsidaBastionCemetery and Garden.
Andy has published numerous articles, leaflets and books, such as ‘Qrendi: Essays on the History of a Maltese Village’ and the invaluable guide: ‘The Msida Bastion Garden of Rest: A Visitor’s Guide’. He is still active with the ‘Friends of Ta Braxia’, the voluntary arm of Din l-Art Helwa that looks after the Ta’ Braxia Cemetery. Andy is Grand Archivist and Historian of the Order of Saint Lazarus and Archivist of the Anglican ProCathedral in Valletta and is also a Fellow of the Society of Postal Historians.