What’s so special about a lift, I might hear you ask. And, in truth, it is just a lift. But in my mind, it has taken on the aura of a legend. The first Barrakka lift opened its doors to the public in December 1905.
The lift connected the harbour with the city and was a quick and efficient way of getting to Valletta from Lascaris Wharf. In the 1970s the lift was closed down and eventually dismantled. I have a very vague recollection of my father taking me for a ride on the old lift a few months before it was closed. The structure was dismantled in 1983 and all of us that remembered it, however tenuously, talked nostalgically of the lift and its vertiginous trip up and down the fortified walls underneath Upper Barracca Gardens.
With the ever-increasing number of cruise ships berthing at Lascaris Wharf, a decision was taken to re-build a lift in the same place. In December 2012, the new Barrakka lift was inaugurated. The lift is 58 metres high and is connected to the fortifications of Valletta by a bridge. Positioned at the highest point of Valletta, the lift offers a fantastic view of Grand Harbour and the old cities of Bormla, Birgu and Isla.
At the base (the tunnel leads to the harbour)
The original sign from 1905
The quickest link between the harbour and the city has been restored. The legend is reborn.
Location: Barrakka Lift, Upper Barrakka Gardens, Valletta