The building ‘Karrejja Causi’ or otherwise known as ‘Casa Causi’ was originally built in the 1500’s by the Nobel Testaferrata family. Throughout its history, the nobility endowed many churches, built many fine Palazzi and patronised the arts. This home was a statement of grandeur. Split across five floors it was decorated with the finest of furnishings, paintings, jewellery and objects d’art. There was even a tunnel built in the basement which lead under Valletta and out to the grand palace.
In the summer months of 1565, Malta and the Knights of the Order of St John came under attack from the Turks. In the Mid 1500’s the Ottoman Empire was reaching its Zenith. The Turks had spread their reach far into Europe, North Africa and the Mediterranean. Severely outnumbered, the Maltese and 10,000 Knights fought off a force of 40,000 Turks. This event formed one of the most iconic events in Maltese history, ‘The Great Siege’. Fast forward 350 years: Malta had once again found itself in the midst of another violent and bloody battle - The First World War. Although not a direct participant, the Great War had a profound impact on Malta due to its strategic location.
It was during World War Two (1942) where Malta was hit the worst. The island holds the record for the heaviest sustained bombing attack. For 154 days and nights 6,700 tons of bombs fell on the island. From April throughout summer that year, the island was pushed to the brink, leaving Malta devastated. The Maltese people are the only entire population to ever be awarded the George Cross, Britain’s highest civilian honour of bravery.
Given Malta’s turbulent history, it is a miracle that Karrejja Causi has remained unscathed. Over the 400 years it has been standing, it has certainly seen a lot. From the grand 16th century Palazzi it once was, to the separate apartments or ‘Karrejja’ it has become, there is an overwhelming sense of history. The building even featured in Alan Parker's ‘Midnight Express in 1978.
With tenants disappearing over the decades and with little work done to maintain it, the building became a living museum, frozen in time, haunted by neglect and full of memories and treasures.