On this day - 21st April 1615: Wignacourt Aqueduct Inaugurated

Another random little anniversary today to whizz you off to distant times and places, away from the turmoil of election griping, transport hold ups and wondering who finished all the coffee. Today sees the 400th anniversary of the inauguration of the Wignacourt Aqueduct. 

Wignacourt Aqueduct Santa Venera Malta

Wignacourt Aqueduct
By JialiangGao www.peace-on-earth.org (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Wignacourt Aqueduct, in Malta, can still be viewed today although, it is sadly no longer in use - it ceased to operate in the 20th century. This superb piece of architecture was designed to transport precious water from Dingli and Rabat to Valletta. It gets its name from the man who paid for it, Grandmaster Wignacourt - a most exceedingly splendid name if ever there was one. I like to think of him presenting himself at courts throughout Europe with a wonderfully pompous servant announcing him at every turn. Although I have no idea if he ever travelled the European court circuit, he certainly had lots of cash. Financing a building enterprise of such magnitude would hardly come cheap. 

Malta - Birkirkara - Triq l-Imdina - aqueduct 01 ies

Wignacourt Aqueduct
By Frank Vincentz (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The aqueduct is a combination of underground pipes and overground channels held high above the ground by rows of arches giving the distinctive aqueduct look, frequently employed by the Romans who had a certain obsession with clean water. Well, fair enough. One simply cannot expect an Emperor to bathe in anything less than the purest spring water from the mountains. The Wignacourt Aqueduct’s water came from springs too, in Dingli and Rabat, and continued it’s journey through the aqueduct all the way down into the town to supply the people with water. 

Malta - Birkirkara - Triq l-Imdina + aqueduct 07 ies

Wignacourt Aqueduct
By Frank Vincentz (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Today, the aqueduct is in need of repair. Pollution from traffic and damage from the second world war have left it in a sad state. Thankfully, all is not lost! Areas of it have been repaired once already and there are plans afoot for reconstruction and repair work to be carried out on remaining sections soon. The local councils in Malta are proud of their aqueduct and so they should be for it is a splendid piece of work. I’m sure that they will celebrating it today and I hope that you, wherever you are, take a moment to think of it as well. 

© Isla Robertson 2017