There is a cave on the southern cliffs, situated on a narrow precipice and commanding a spectacular view of sheer rock-faces and miles and miles of deep blue sea. It is known as Ghar Hasan (the gh in ghar is completely silent) – Hasan’s cave.
Like many such places there is a legend tied to this cave. In fact there a number of different versions of this legend but the central figure in all of them is a Saracen named Hasan. In the most popular version of the legend it is said that Hasan abducted a beautiful Maltese farm-girl and held her captive in this cave. This raised the ire of the locals who proceeded to attack the cave. Rather than be captured, Hasan flung the girl into the sea below and then committed suicide by jumping over the edge of the precipice.
You may find another version of Hasan’s legend here.
Whether there is any truth to these legends is hard to tell. There is no written record to suggest that these stories are based on facts. However I would speculate that a person named Hasan did live in this cave at some point in time and, seeing the treacherous path that leads to the cave, it is highly possible that there was someone who fell to their death from this spot. Separating the truth from the legend at this point in time is impossible and unnecessary. All true legends are shrouded in mystery and the legend of Ghar Hasan is no exception.
For a view of the cave from the sea below please visit Malta Daily Photo here.
Note to prospective visitors
Officially, the cave is closed to the public and surrounded by a tall metal fence – so we will leave the particulars of how I managed to get in a mystery (but any other blogger worth their salt would have done what I did). The guard rail is rusted and corroded and in most places the ground just drops vertiginously into the sea without warning. In all honesty (and perhaps because I was there all by myself) the place gave me the creeps and I did not venture inside at all but took a quick photo from the mouth of the cave. That ghostly chair that you can see in the picture above totally freaked me out until I remembered that when the cave was open to the public there used to be a man renting out torches for a few cents. I suppose that when the place was closed down he left his chair behind and no one has removed it since. Or perhaps Hasan comes back from time to time to reminisce and enjoy the solitude and the view.
For those of interested in the cave itself, there is a short description on this site.