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<the auberge de provence>

As there are no reliable sources and - in the words of Quentin Hughes - "considerable disagreement" on the auberges' dates of construction, it is difficult to say which auberge was built next or in which chronological order they were built. The Auberge de Provence (fig. 2a), situated on Republic Street and now hosting the National Museum of Archaeology, was either built in 1571 or later, namely around 1574/5. However, its current facade is definitely a later addition. It does not show any traces of Cassar's design, and there is proof that it dates from 1638, the year this auberge was enlarged.


     The nine rectangular front rooms, which now contain the shops on Republic Street and the entrance of the museum, were definitely part of this enlargement, because they do not fit into the usual plan that Cassar had applied in all his auberges (the original courtyard of the Auberge de Provence was later changed as well).  

    However, there are more hints showing that these rooms and the facade were not part of the original structure: Before the recent renovation of the interior, the thicker wall at the back of the nine front rooms revealed some walled-up windows, which must have been the windows of Cassar’s façade. Moreover, the side façades in Melita Street and Carts Street show a "seam", i.e. a construction join, exactly where the later added front part begins.

    Therefore, Cassar's original façade of the Auberge de Provence was recessed by some metres. Giovanni Bonello concludes from this discovery that the Auberge de Provence used to have a piazza in front, which seems very reasonable.

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