Lija Belvedere Tower

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Lija Belvedere Tower, or officially Torri Belvedere, situated in Lija village, is an architectural monument you would hear about traveling around the Central region of Malta, in the area of the Three villages, including also Attard and Balzan ones . Built in 1857 the Tower was planned as a folly within the Villa Gourigon gardens. A folly is a rarely met piece of architecture, usually constructed for decoration and reflecting the class of the buildings it belongs to.

The Villa Gourigon was the residence of Marquis Depiro. Together with his family he decided to place the Tower just in the middle of their gardens and orange groves. The project of the monument belongs to the architect Giuseppe Bonavia who has also created the Francia Palace and Buttigieg in Valletta. The master designed the Belvedere in neoclassic style and constructed it of limestone, the traditional Maltese material. The Depiro family often accepted their guests in the Belvedere Tower. They also used it to have some peaceful rest in their wonderful citrus gardens.

In 1950, when Transfiguration Avenue was constructed, the location suffered considerable reconstruction. Thus, part of the gardens was destroyed. The Tower and the Villa were separated from each other by the high wall, which surrounded the rest of the gardens. As to the Belvedere Tower, according to the reconstruction plan it turned to be right on the road. Happily it was preserved on its initial place by creating a roundabout on the spot. Nowadays Lija village is changing its appearance. To retain the architectural heritage of the terrain the Malta Environment & Planning Authority suggested a plan which presupposes preservation of the sites of the Villa, the Tower, and their surroundings. According to this plan, any buildings exceeding two floors height from the street level will be prohibited in this area.

In the middle of 1990s the Tower was restored by the Giroloramu Cassar School of Masonry and Restoration. This renovation was financed by the Ministry of Education, which also aims to preserve the monuments in the best condition both for the locals and guests of the village.

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