Military cemetery revisited

The Military and Hospitaller Order of St Lazarus of Jerusalem will be organising a discussion about the history and architecture of Ta’ Braxia cemetery, as part of their Castello Lanzun charity lecture series.

Castello Lanzun, San ĠwannCastello Lanzun, San Ġwann

Ta’ Braxia was commissioned at the time of the Crimean War, in 1856, as the existing burial grounds and cemeteries available for non-Catholics, in particular the Msida Bastion, had reached full capacity. The cemetery was designed by Luigi Emanuele Galizia in 1856, the Works Department’s 25-year-old architect, and it was his first commission.

The new garden cemetery was to be managed by a statutory body, the ‘Ta’ Braxia Committee’, which was funded by a yearly vote. Ownership of the ground was passed on to the Maltese government between the wars. A wide range of Christian denominations and other religions are represented. The lecture will set the main subject against a background of what was happening in Malta at the time.

Prof. Conrad Thake will be delivering a lecture detailing the building of the cemetery and its architectural merits and also discussing the challenging religious and political context during the mid-19th century and the determination of the Governor, Sir William Reid, to bring the cemetery about “for all denominations without distinction of creed”.

Thake is a practising architect and architectural historian. After he graduated from the University of Malta, he pursued postgraduate studies in Canada and obtained his doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley, the US. Currently, he is a senior lecturer in the Department of History of Art at the University of Malta. Thake has authored and co-authored many works on Malta’s architectural past.

The lecture will be held today at 8pm at Castello Lanzun, Triq is-Santwarju, Mensija, San Ġwann. Seats are kept against a donation and may be reserved via e-mail to or by calling 7996 5432. Dress code is smart casual and refreshments will be served after the lecture.

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