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Ghar il-Kbir

Ghar il-Kbir is a complex of interconnecting caves, widely differing in depth and dimension. Piercing the upper crest of a rocky garrigue esplanade, the complex lies South West of Buskett, close to the cart ruts. These caverns were inhabited from prehistoric times until 1835.

Up to the 19th century the cave hosted a community of underground dwellers, better known as Troglodytes. Great Greek writers mentioned these people around 2000 years ago. They wrote about Troglodytes living around the Black Sea. Finds in other parts of the Island, including a number of cave chapels, reveal their existence in Malta since at least 5000 years B.C. An accurate description written by a Jesuit, Athanasius Kircher, relates their existence and way of life when the author visited them, way back in 1637. Kircher was the guest of Grand Master Lascaris, residing at Verdala Castle. He was invited to have a close encounter with the Troglodytes and discover their social life.

The cave ceiling had openings to let light in and smoke out, keeping efficient ventilation, while rain could not penetrate their living area. The open space at the entrance was once their living area. These Troglodytes decorated their walls and ceilings with bunches of herbs, garlic and onions.

Ghar il-Kbir


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