Amazing artifacts found in the Gran Castello

At the Citadel one can visit the Gran Castello Historic House.

Housed within a cluster of medieval houses, the Museum presents a great display of items that echo what life in rural Gozo was like in times gone by. It captures the essence of trades like agriculture, fishing, stone masonry, the cotton industry, lace-making and weaving through the display of the tools that were used back then.

Cart Wheels

Once a very popular means of transport, the cart being pulled by a donkey, horse or mule was a common scene on Gozitan streets, back when cars were not around. Apart from regular carts that farmers, hawkers, and families would have used, there were also the more robust carts that were needed to carry heavy loads including stone from the quarries to the building sites. This meant cart wheels of different sizes were needed according to the animal pulling the cart and the cart’s use. Before the twentieth century, the wooden wheels used on the Gozitan carts were brought over from Malta, but there is evidence that after the beginning of the twentieth century, there were a couple of carpenters in Gozo who were locally manufacturing cart wheels.  These wooden wheels of different spans and dimensions were at times painted in bright colours and fancy patterns. Carts have long disappeared from Gozitan streets and today some wheels are used as decorations in Gozitan farmhouses.

Loom Machine

The loom machine, also on display at the Gran Castello Historic House is a nod to the many women who were often taught skills like spinning, weaving, knitting, embroidery and lace making from a very young age.   Although today these things are only practised as hobbies or considered simply as crafts, these skills were essential abilities way back. The loom machine is a very old device and it is the backbone of textile making, through which women could produce a variety of items

Lace Making Bobbin Winder

Still in use today, by the avid lace-makers, the lace making bobbin winder is a wooden machine that allows one to wind the linen or silken thread onto the bobbin (ċumbini) by hand.  The thread’s end is secured onto the bobbin using a type of slip knot and then the bobbin is inserted into a special groove on the machine. As the bobbin is winding it pulls off thread from the spool. This small machine is essential in order to ensure more evenly wound bobbins and in times gone by when for some people lace-making was a job, it was a major timesaver.   Once the bobbins are wound then the next step would be tying up the bobbins in pairs. Every lace-making project started off by ensuring that one has enough bobbins wound up with the appropriate thread to hang on using pins.

These and other objects are on display at the Gran Castello Historic House.