Ta’ Qassisu

Ta’ Qassisu entrenchment is one of the surviving entrenchments that are found in Malta. In Mellieha there are two entrenchments, Ta Qassisu and Louvier entrenchments, the latter is found at Armier. Fortunately Ta Qassisu entrenchment still exists but needs to be restored because a number of masonry was pulled down by vandals. Parts of the entrenchments are low while other parts are high. This is because not all the land is of the same level.

Ta’ Qassisu entrenchment is found at the left side of Mellieha Bay. It is near a hotel. Mellieha Bay was found by many powers that occupied the Maltese islands that was vulnerable to an invasion. The Hospitaller too knew of this danger. So, first in the mid-17th century they built Fort St. Agatha and with during the early 18th century the Hospitallers began investing in direct fortifications. Two coastal batteries and a coastal redoubt were built. The next fortification was to be the entrenchments.

So, the Hospitallers agreed with Bourlamaque proposals and began building Ta’ Qassisu entrenchment. This entrenchment was part of a much larger scheme that is surrounding the Maltese island with entrenchments. In Mellieha, the areas between Mellieha Bay continuing up to at least Marfa were to be surrounded with entrenchments. Unfortunately for the Hospitallers only a small part of the Mellieha Bay entrenchments were built, because they did not have enough money to build all these entrenchments. 1

References:
1 Stephen Spiteri. Fortresses of the Cross: Hospitaller Military Architecture (1136-1798), A Heritage Interpretation Services Publication, Malta, 1994, p 569

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    About the village of Mellieha

    Mellieha is a rural village and tourist resort in the Northwestern part of Malta and derives its name from the Semitic root 'm-l-h' which in Arabic means salt. The name was probably derived from the ancient Punic and Roman salt-terns; historians indicated as lying adjacent to the large sandy bay at the foot of the village.
    Mellieha has been inhabited since early Neolithic times (3000 B.C). Several megalithic remains and tombs of this era and other primitive tools and fragments of pottery were found in various localities around this area, primarily at "il-Latnija" - a natural cavity used by several stone-age peoples - and at l-Gholja tax-Xemxija.
    During the Roman and Byzantine occupations (213B.C- 870A.D.), Mellieha's valleys were inhabited by troglodytes, who irrigated the land, adopted natural caves as their dwelling places and buried their beloved ones in Punic style burial chambers. Following the Arab conquest and during the medieval period (870-1530A.D.), the area was deserted, primarily due to the continuous raids of the Muslim corsairs.
    Notwithstanding the hardship experienced by the Maltese during the Reign of the Order of St. John (1530-1798A.D.), Mellieha's medieval chapel, dedicated to the Holy Virgin Mary, was one of the most venerated places on the island. Several distinguished persons, such as grandmaster's, kings and bishops visited the shrine and pilgrimages to the sanctuary from all over the island were held frequently.
    In the late 17th century, the Knights built several fortifications along the coast, so as to protect the inhabitants. This venture brought about the gradual repopulating of the area, mainly by those who wanted to exploit the fertile valleys and the new enterprise of tunny net fishing. Under the British, in 1844, Mellieha was established again as a parish and since then it grew up into a modern town, of circa 6,500 people.
    Today, Mellieha is one of Malta's most picturesque tourist destinations. The town centre boasts of its splendid hotels, fine restaurants and traditional cute shops. It has a unique primary school, a majestic baroque church (built in late 19th century) and various cultural organizations, including band clubs, sports clubs, an orchestra, various religious societies, a parish community centre and an environmental pressure group. Since 1993, local affairs are being run by the Mellieha Local Council, an institution made up of seven councilors, elected every three years by the people.
    Mellieha's main festive season occurs in the first two weeks of September and reaches its climax on the 8th September. During these days various cultural manifestations are held, such as musical concerts, fireworks, folk singing, art exhibitions and the traditional religious procession. The town's people, ''Il-Mellehin'', are renowned for their laborious nature, their ironic sense of humour, and their friendliness and hospitality. Those who visit us, no matter where they hail from, do not merely enjoy themselves but feel at home.

    As long as Mellieha preserves its great archaeological and historic heritage, its unique natural environment, and its traditions and costumes, its people, "Il-Mellehin", can look forward to a bright future.