Ghar u Casa, Mellieha
Welcome to Ghar u Casa in Mellieha. Surely one of those places you see every day, every week or every month while driving down the Mellieha hill and wonder each time, but never really look it up. After more than a decade in Malta I’ve finally decided to check it out. I’ve brought with me a friend who sees it out her window every day, so it was about time!
When I was editing the photos I realised that we visited this place in March! It took me more than 3 months to actually sit down and write blog about it. I’ve been postponing it hoping I come across some ground breaking info about it, but I haven’t. Sorry for the spoiler alert right from the start. I mean it’s still very interesting place, but I was hoping to find out more about it.
I’ve decided to do it the order way around. Publish what I have and hope that people that actually know more will reach out to me to either correct some facts or add more information. Let’s hope this strategy works. In the meantime enjoy the pictures and what I’ve managed to gather about this unique ‘cave house’.
I’m sure that most of you just want to know how to get to it. Fair enough, I can start by telling you the way and then, for those interested, add some historical info about it. You have to start by looking for these steps. They are located on the way up the hill from the One80 restaurant towards the Mellieha church. Walk up the stairs and look for a path on your left hand side.
Prepare yourself for overgrown grass, thorn bushes and the unexpected. I would not call this a pleasant walk. Mind your eyes so you don’t poke it with one of those random branches that will be attaching you. However it gives you the feel of true adventure and I have to admit we were constantly semi-scared of what we’re going to find. Something between a great thrill and pooping our pants haha! And no I would never go by myself. No way in hell. Haha.
You know you’re close when you find these caves with handmade entrance. We didn’t have good enough lights with us to see what’s inside, but probably we didn’t even want to know to be fair, so we just rushed passed these openings. Yes I know two chickens went out exploring and no brave & not lazy men were available on that day.
However I do have some fearless friends (thanks Daniel!) who also visited Ghar u Casa on another occasion and actually went in to check it out. Besides some random stuff there was also a bicycle! This really makes me think that someone was living there not that long ago! Meaning couple of decades, not centuries and used these caves as storage.
Now look up and you can see it! The Ghar u Casa balcony. We’re getting there!
Here is the ‘grand entrance’ to the Ghar u Casa. Hopefully it’s still open. I’ve noticed quite a few people visiting it recently and you know what happens, when something becomes ‘popular’ it gets closed off. It’s not the safest of places, so maybe instead of closing it, it should be preserved, restored and open to public and historical attraction.
And now it is! You made it! Welcome to Ghar u Casa. Mellieha is well known for its many caves, many of which were inhabited until recently since neolithic times. The most famous of them is definitely Ghar u Casa. You might be wondering if it actually means something. It does! Ghar = cave, u = and, casa = house. Ghar u Casa = Cave and House.
According to another article I read about it ‘Gharukaza’ can also translate in Maltese language as ‘disgrace’. Probably because others found those still living in caves shameful. It’s worth mentioning that many caves in Malta were inhabited until mid 1830s.
The Times of Malta article from 2010 states that these inland cliffs and caves were granted ecological and archeological protected status under an emergency conservation order in 1999. They were granted as a Class B site of archeological importance, viewed as ‘very important and to be preserved at all costs.’ But I don’t think any action was done to actually protect it.
After publishing this blog, I’ve got a lot of comments and messages. Apparently it was still inhabited 25 – 30 years ago!
The first room that you enter when visiting Ghar u Casa is conveniently the toilet. Even back then they were very practical and thought of the human’s physical needs first. As you can see the plastic toilet seat is still there. Which yet again suggests that there was someone living until very recently.
As you can see from the photos whoever built this took advantage of the caves shape and built walls in a way to create rooms and living space. There was another small room which entrance is on the left with some storage spaces in front. It could have been a kitchen too.
Now we’re entering the largest of all the rooms. It seems that it had an altar with a niche for a statue. Otherwise it is one big open space with two windows and a door leading to the balcony.
What can I tell you, the views of Ghadira Bay are marvelous!
I’m sure your main question hasn’t been answered yet. How actually lived there? Well it seems that thanks to a lot of comments and messages I’ve received I might have an answer!
It seems that there was a local gentleman living there, who was originally living closed by. From what I heard he was friendly and extremely clever however after experiencing a mental breakdown he moved to the cave. One of many rumours say that he used to sleep in a coffin. It seems that he is now living in an old people’s home.
His name was Evarist and he also had chains attached to his car, so when he was coming everyone knew it was him. Some also say that he used to have a bell attached to his cave-house which was heard tooling in the evenings.
I mean taking away the fact that this was a cave turned into a house, it had a great location. Away from everyone which magical views!
This would be probably the most picturesque photo you can get with the view of the Parish Church of Mellieha. If you want to recreate this photo please be very careful. The balcony is not stable at all and as you can see there is missing floor. There is only one plank, but I highly discourage you to stand on it.
I hope you enjoyed this quirky and unadvertised attraction which is quite unique to Mellieha. This cave-made-house bears testimony to the long history of cave dwelling in Mellieha from ancient times until quite recently. It’s hard to miss. Look out for a yellow facade in the cliff face across the valley from the Parish Church of Mellieha.
One can also check out the St. Paul statue, which is located right next to the Ghar u Casa. It is possible to climb all the way up to the statue. There are steps, which are most likely used for maintenance purposes, but I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s very high up and rather unsafe.
At the end of this blog I would like to say, that if you like what I do and find these blogs inspirational and helpful please sponsor me or purchase some of my products. It would really help me to keep these blogs coming. Thank you. Tina x