New & now
Did you know Malta’s Regional Road tunnels were funded by the Taiwanese?
They used to be called the Sun Yat-Sen tunnels!

Roxanne Grillo

As you’re driving through Regional Road – or any road in Malta for that matter – it’s unlikely that you ever thought twice about its origins, or perhaps even its tunnels’ history. Well, we’re here to tell you that perhaps, you should!

Images posted on Facebook page Malta Underground recall the beginnings and interesting history of the Regional Road tunnels which connect the South of Malta to the Northern regions.

For instance, did you know that the funds for the tunnels were actually a donation by the Taiwanese government, and the tunnels themselves were originally named after the Chinese President, Sun-Yat-Sen?

If you’re wondering why the Taiwanese would fund Maltese infrastructure, it would seem that around 50 years ago, the Taiwanese wanted to join the UN on China’s behalf. However, they needed other governments, like Malta’s, to help back up their proposition. Thus, the funding was supposedly used to win Malta’s trust… which, by the way, it didn’t.

As the page notes, the tunnels used to be embellished with white tiles, and as can be observed from the image, were also very brightly lit. Sadly, these tiles didn’t last very long…

Funnily enough, rumour has it that people would stop their cars as they drove through the tunnels and, wait for it – steal the tiles! Apparently, they would later use these in their own bathrooms at home. Why they would do this is unknown, and we really can’t imagine how this would even work!

What is for certain is that the tunnel walls have now been left bare and are not quite as snazzy as they used to be. Whether it’s because the tiles were removed or stolen, we can’t say for sure!

All we can say is that, not even a century later, most of us have forgotten their origins… and their unlikely benefactors!

19th September 2021


Roxanne Grillo
Written by
Roxanne Grillo
Fresh out of student life, Roxanne has a passion for sustainability, animal rights, and female empowerment. Above all else, she loves baking, chitchatting with friends, and spending many nights in with her beloved cats.

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