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Building of Lazzaretto

Manoel Island formerly Isolotto, is a peninsula that is located in the Marsamxett Harbour.

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During the outbreak of the plague from 1592 to 1593, a quarantine hospital known as Lazzaretto was built from wooden huts. After the disease disappeared, the hospital was demolished a year later.

During the reign of Grandmaster Laskaris a permanent quarantine hospital was built in 1643 to control the continuous influx of Pest and Cholera via ships. Passengers and / or crew from quarantine ships were admitted to the quarantine facility or the hospital.

Incoming mail was disinfected by smoking it and then marking it with a red wax stamp.

The hospital was expanded with a second block built in 1670 during the reign of Grandmaster Nicolás Cotoner.

The Grand Masters Gregorio Carafa in 1683, Ramon Perellos y Roccaful in 1701 and António Manoel de Vilhena 1726 improved the hospital.

Richer patients, such as Lord Byron, Sir Walter Scott, Horace Vernet, Benjamin Disraeli and Alphonse de Lamartine, had a separate ward and were able to order food at the Beverley Hotel in Valletta, after which the food was brought by a small rowing boat the "dgħajsa" ". Later the separate department also got its own restaurant.

During the reign of Grandmaster Emmanuel de Rohan-Polduc a third block was built in 1797 and a number of warehouses.

Ships were obliged to remain in port for 40 days, and the crew was expected not to leave the ship.

Sometimes there were as many as 8 ships where an infection had broken out in quarantine in front of the hospital.

A plague epidemic broke out in Malta in 1813 - 1814, a cholera epidemic in 1865 and another plague in 1936. The hospital was also used for the Maltese population during this period.

Lazzaretto served as a military hospital during the French blockade and the British period.

Italian soldiers were nursed during the Crimean War.

In 1939, Lazzaretto's health function expired, and it was used for military purposes, such as a base called HMS Phoenicia, a depot for submarines and minesweepers.

During the Second World War the area was bombed by German and Italian planes, with the result that many buildings were destroyed or damaged, resulting in demolition.

Lazzaretto reopened as a hospital in 1949 and remained so during the British period until 1970 when it fell into a state of decline.

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This Lazzaretto page is part of “The Malta Magazine”.

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