It used to be the main entrance to the city of Cospicua.
How many times have you passed by the old St Helen’s Gate on the way in or out of Cospicua without giving it a second thought? Well, we’re certainly guilty of it, but no longer!
In a recent shot by Kappa Vision’s Jean-Paul Borg – a talented local photographer who has set about documenting many of the island’s historic buildings – the interior of the gate, featuring a copy of a painting by Mattia Preti, stopped us in our tracks.
Built in 1736, St Helen’s Gate (also known as the Vilhena Gate) was once the main entrance to the city and is similar in design to the Main Gate of Fort Manoel, which was also designed by Charles François de Mondion.
And while we may be guilty of overlooking it as we go about our daily business, the impressive gate is actually regarded as one of the most beautiful 18th century Hospitaller gateways! It’s also one of just two gates on the islands which feature representations of life-sized artillery pieces, the other one being Porte des Bombes in Floriana.
The painting in its interior is actually a copy of the original by artist Mattia Preti, while the original is being restored by the Restoration Unit.