Din l-Art Ħelwa regretfully notes that a recent planning application has been submitted for to Planning Authority and is seeking the replacement of a disused factory with a fuel station and car-wash facility on a site immediately adjoining the Turkish Muslim cemetery at Marsa.
The Muslim cemetery is a fine Orientalist-style architectural complex built in 1873-4, designed by the eminent Maltese architect Emanuele Luigi Galizia and was financed entirely by the Ottoman sultan Ottoman sultan Abdülaziz (r. 1861–76).It is one of Galizia’s finest architectural works in the nineteenth century and one of three cemeteries that he designed besides the Ta’ Braxia and Addolorata cemetery.
The proposed development if approved would not only have a very adverse and negative visual impact on the cemetery but given the nature of the facility would through emissions impact severely the state of conservation of the elaborate stonework of the cemetery complex. Besides these issues, such a proposed development is totally incompatible with the historic character of the complex. It would lead to the diminishment of our architectural heritage and the proposed use on such a site is even disrespectful to the sensibilities of the local Muslim community and all those striving to restore the Turkish cemetery to its former glory.
The Muslim cemetery is a scheduled Grade I building and should be afforded the maximum degree of protection possible. It is currently undergoing an extensive restoration programme financed by the Turkish government. It certainly deserves to be better known and appreciated by locals and visitors alike. Din l-Art Ħelwa appeals to Planning Authority and the authorities to refuse the application and to relocate the proposed facility to a different site.
8th July 2016
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