A lengthy and laborious process will soon commence to restore one of the last surviving examples of a ‘dgħajsa tal-latini’ acquired by Heritage Malta earlier this year.
Minister for the National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government José Herrera, together with Heritage Malta’s Chief Executive Officer Noel Zammit, briefed the press about this project during a news conference held at Heritage Malta’s headquarters in Kalkara, where the boat is currently being kept.
Minister Herrera described the project as one which would bring back to life a key player in our country’s maritime history. He pledged his commitment and that of the government towards a collective effort to ensure that our maritime heritage is not lost but can be enjoyed by future generations. He stated that Heritage Malta’s and his vision is to make use of the old Pixkerija as a museum to showcase these important exhibits, including the ‘dgħajsa tal-latini’.
Noel Zammit expressed his satisfaction at this acquisition by Heritage Malta which further attests to the agency’s endeavours to give a future to our past. He said that the boat will be restored on site and, until work is completed, will be sheltered under a temporary structure to protect it from the elements.
The ‘dgħajsa tal-latini’ earned its name from the lateen sails on which it depended for motion. It was mainly used for the transportation of supplies and passengers between Malta and Gozo. Measuring between 45 and 50 feet, it is the largest of the Maltese traditional boats.
The origins of the ‘dgħajsa tal-latini’ are lost in the pages of history, but there is evidence that as early as 1520 this type of boat was being constructed on the shores of the Grand Harbour.