Malta: The Pre-historic Temples of Hagar Qim and Mnajdra (3800-2500 B.C.)
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Malta: The Pre-historic Temples of Hagar Qim and Mnajdra (3800-2500 B.C.)

Facts about the Maltese Pre-Historic temples of Hagar Qim and Mnajdra, dating back to 3800BC - 2500BC.

The temples of Hagar Qim and Mnajdra in the European island of Malta date back to between 3800 and 2500 years before Christ. They are believed to be one of the earliest settlements of the European continent and were built during the era known as the Copper Age. It amazes tourists and Maltese citizens alike how such early civilisations could carry the enormous slabs of rocks to build these temples. Looking at the Hagar Qim and Mnajdra temples with an aerial view, one can notice a clover-leaf shape to add to the amazement. In the absence of machinery to cut, lift and carry the large chunks of rock from one place to another, before the wheel was even invented, and without any methods of having an aerial view at the time, one can conclude that the Copper Age civilisation of Malta was a master in construction.

Hagar Qim and Mnajdra are two of several other pre-historic temples found on the small island of Malta, which has a population of 400000 people and whose economy depends on a high inflow of tourists. Malta joined the European Union in the 2004 enlargement and adopted the Euro currency, making it easier for European tourists to travel to the island. Tourists have a plethora of historical places to visit, and these temples are among the most popular, as they date before the construction of the Egyptian pyramids.

The striking techniques used in architecture, the amount of ceramic found in these temples, and the high standard of sculpture point out interesting facts about early civilisations. Several sculptures of the Mother Goddess were found in the temples and in other places around Malta. This was an obese woman which symbolized fertility for the pre-historic civilisation. They date back to circa 3000 years before Christ. All efforts have been made by the authorities of Malta, namely Heritage Malta, to conserve these temples. Being very close to the sea at Wied iz-Zurrieq (Zurrieq Valley) does not help as seaspray and the residue of salt eat away at the stone. A protective tent was constructed in 2009. Since then, this tent has suffered severe damage due to strong winds but the temples remain intact, still full of strength against the elements of nature.

In 1992, five megalithic temples on the islands of Malta and Gozo, including those of Hagar Qim and Mnajdra, were declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The temples contain various altars where it seems that animals were offered as sacrifice to the gods, as many animal bones were discovered in the area. For all those who appreciate history, the temples feel like paradise, and the feeling of walking on the same ground as that walked upon by possibly the first civilisation in Europe is exceptional.

[Source of Pictures: Wikipedia]

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Comments (1)

Love Malta! i spent a summer there in the 80's. Love the old buildings, the alley ways and paths. Thanks!