The Seashell House in Hal Ghaxaq
Have you heard about the Seashell House yet? It is a historical landmark located in the centre of Hal Ghaxaq in the southern part of Malta. Must visit if you happen to be around the area.
I didn’t know about this house either until I read about it in Bizarre Malta book! This rare and pretty fascinating house named Id-Dar tal-Bebbux (The House of the Snails) is located in St Mary Street, just a few metres away from Hal Ghaxaq’s parish church. The house is decorated with hundreds of snails and seashells. These stunning ornaments date back to 1898!
The author of this unusual and very unique fasade is Indri Dimech. He often worked as a sailor and decorated his house with seashells collected from local and foreign beaches. How long do you think it takes to create such a master piece? It might be surprising to learn that these two upper sides of the walls of Indi’s property took less than two years to decorate!
He craftly designed them with religious symbol and embellished this artwork further by adding three niches, a statue, and some writing which includes his surname.
High up on the main facade where you can read the date 1901, stands a small stone statue of the Virgin Mary, the patron saint of Għaxaq.
If you are wondering what statues are displayed in these two niches, I’m about to tell you. On the left side from the balcony, a stone statue of St Joseph holding baby Jesus. On the right hand side, the niche contains the stone statue of St Andrew; the saint which has the same name as Indrì (and old fashioned way to say Andrew in Maltese).
This niche with three stone statues showing a crucified figure of Christ accompanied by the Virgin Mary and St John the Evangelist.
It’s also interesting to mention that at the time, Indri’s property functioned as a bar. Men used to meet here, have a drink and socialize after a hard day’s work. It also served as a hub which sparked the idea of the establishment of the first social club in Għaxaq.
More than a century later Indri’s designs has miraculously survived and one can admire his work until today! However, as you can see, much of the seashell decorations are in a very bad state and are in a desperate need of restoration. For many years, the Local Council has been trying to obtain the necessary funds to save this exceptional property.
Fingers crossed that this bizarre but such beautiful facade will get the attention it deserves before it’s too late.