Portes des Bombes vandalised with graffiti

Updated 11.40am, adds Culture Ministry’s comments

Floriana’s iconic Portes des Bombes was vandalised on Tuesday morning with black graffiti.

“I love you Dali,” black lettering read, accompanied by two hearts with smiley face on the back side of the arches. 

The damage to the historic site happened at around 7.30am on Tuesday morning, a police spokesperson said – 20 minutes after sunrise. 

Portes des Bombes is situated on the heavily trafficked thoroughfare leading to Valletta.

“I love you Dali” alongside to smiley-filled hearts. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

While there is a camera overlooking the front end of the structure, there is none on its rear side. 

Floriana councillor James Aaron Ellul told Times of Malta that he has been pushing for that to change for years. 

Ellul said that a camera on the rear side of the arch had been damaged during a traffic accident in 2012 and only replaced in 2017, following his calls as a Floriana councillor. 

However, sometime between 2017 and now, that camera was taken down, leading the Floriana councillor to restart his appeals at the beginning of 2023.

“Nobody wants to take responsibility and look what happened,” he said in frustration on Tuesday morning. 

In a statement, the Culture Ministry said the graffiti will immediately be cleared by restorers while investigations will be launched.

Action will be taken by the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage, the Department of Restoration and Preservation and the police in view of the “reprehensible vandalism”.

“Our country’s cultural heritage gives us an identity and it is precisely why this government remains committed to safeguarding and protecting it,” it said

This is not the first time the landmark has been vandalised.

In 2017, NET reported that Portes des Bombes was vandalised with scrawled vulgar phrases related to Malta and then-prime minister Joseph Muscat.

The origin of the Floriana arches dates back to the 17th century, when Pietro Paolo Floriani proposed that Valletta’s defences extend beyond the citadel’s walls.

In 1638, Floriani submitted the plans for the Floriana lines and despite strong opposition, they were accepted.

The lines were completed in 1645, however, the defences saw alterations and additions over the years.

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