Limestone Heritage Park
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It’s hard to believe that a tourist facility dedicated not to rock but to one specific type of rock is going to be able to entertain all of those who visit. And that goes double when you learn that we’re not even talking music here! No, we mean rock, as in stone – limestone, in case you were wondering … which you probably weren’t!
But before you click away, stop! Because it seems you actually can make something out of virtually nothing. This Limestone Heritage Park actually provides an interesting and entertaining afternoon out – and it’s won awards too!
Malta’s particular brand of golden limestone is one of the island’s greatest natural resources. It is what most of the buildings are constructed from and it is the thing that gives the towns and cities of the island their instantly recognisable honey-coloured glow.
It’s been used for construction for as long as the people who live on the island have had the tools, desire and ability to chisel great lumps of it out of the ground and shape it into bricks.
Even Malta’s earliest Megalithic temples were built from limestone, as are the former capital of Mdina, the current capital of Valletta and the imposing fortresses built by the Knights of St John.
The towering village churches through to the modern five-star hotels and resorts – are almost all built with limestone from local quarries. This rock has not only quite literally provided the foundations of the nation but it has also shaped its appearance like nothing else.
The Limestone Heritage Park and Gardens will explain all this in much greater detail and provides a comprehensive insight with background information about many of Malta’s finest structural attractions. Specific examples are some of the buildings in Mdina, the nearby Mosta Dome and some of the many prehistoric temples that can be found on Malta and neighbouring Gozo.
The heritage park is on the outskirts of the picturesque village of Siggiewi and is home to an impressive exhibition. It has been created, fittingly, within a disused quarry.
You can trawl through 5,000 years of history, starting with Malta’s earliest freestanding structures. These are so old they predate the pyramids of Egypt.
You are taken on a walk-through tour on what is explained would have once been the seabed some 20 million years ago and see marine fossils etched into the rock. There are exhibitions of antique quarrying methods, including vintage vehicles and machinery, as well as rare and original artefacts.
Visitors can also witness expert masons at work, crafting exquisite stonework in the adjoining indoor complex. If you fancy having a go yourself then you can sign up for a Sculpting Experience. Getting any creations home, however, given the meagre luggage allowance on most airlines could be a challenge!
There’s a cafeteria and a gift shop and your visit can be made much more enjoyable if you go on one of the summer evenings when the park stages its weekly Maltese Folklore Nights. Traditional dishes are served at these like the delicious fenkata (rabbit stew) or majjalata (roast pig). A schedule and information on other special activities can be seen on the website.
Standard admission is €7 for adults and €3 for children if you turn up and pay but discounts are available if you book online in advance. Siggiewi is southwest of Valletta and is reached easily by car. There is also a direct bus from the capital.
Address: Mons. M. Azzopardi Street, Siggiewi SGW 2050
Telephone: +356 2146 4437
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