Ta' Hagrat Temples in Mgarr
Malta has a very rich history going back to 5000 BC! The Maltese Islands also have couple of UNESCO World Heritage Sites including the Capital City of Valletta, Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum and the Megalithic Temples. If you like history, I'm sure you've already visited the Ggantija Temples in Gozo or Hagar Qim and Mnajdra Temples in Malta. But have you heard about the Ta' Hagrat Temples in Mgarr, which are also inscribed on the World Heritage List?
On the occasion of Festa Frawli (Strawberry Festival in Mgarr) Heritage Malta opened the Ta' Hagrat Temples at the reduced admission of 3eur with guided tours in English and Maltese. Since I was going to the Strawberry Festival anyway, this was the perfect opportunity for me to visit this historical site and learn something new about this amazing island.
The Ta' Hagrat Temples are of a smaller scale than the Ggantija Temples in Gozo, Haqar Qim or Mnajdra Temples in Malta, but not any less important. A lot of pottery from the Ghar Dalam phrase (5000 - 4300 BC) up to the Tarxien phrase (3150 - 2500 BC) was found here, which suggests that the site was in use before the temples were even built.
The area of Ta' Hagrat was ideal for the prehistoric period because of its location. In the surrounding areas the settlers could find good resources of clay, the nearby sea would provide great deal of seafood and fish supply, thanks to the water springs in the area, the soil was very fertile in the nearby fields. Perfect for growing crops and farming.
The temples were built from the Upper Coralline Limestone, which is very hard to work with therefore we cannot see any decorations like in Tarxien Temples. This historical site wasn't always as we are seeing it now. It was a field and in the 1900s with a carob tree growing in the middle. The entrance was severely damaged by farming activity before it was excavated. The excavation works that were led by Temi Zammit started in 1923 and lasted for 3 years. Mr. Zammit was a Maltese archaeologist and historian as well as the first Director of National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta. The excavation works also continued in 1950s by John D. Evans and in 1961 by British archaeologist David H. Trump.
While walking into the temple, look down at the ground. Can you see the small round hole in the middle? That's called 'libation hole'. These holes were done purposely to offer sacrifices, mostly animal blood, which was part of the rituals.
Now we are in the inner temple with a 'tiled' floor with a surrounding edge. Part of it you can see on the picture bellow. It was explained to me during the guided tour, there are a lot of questions about it. Was it done purposely? Was it formed by time? Or is the edge just forming an entrance to the sacred temple? Who knows? The temples were used for events, weddings etc., but it wasn't used for living purposes.
Below is an aerial view of Ta' Hagrat Temples that you can see with other information boards on site.
Here is the exact location of Ta' Hagrat Temples. If you would like to visit the temples, you can buy your tickets at the Farmers' Bar or the Imgarr Bar and then just show your ticket to the security personnel on site. The standard entrance fee is 3,50 eur and opening times Mon - Sun 9:00 - 17:00. It's also worth mentioning that only 900 m away you can find another neolithic site called Skorba.
I hope you enjoyed this blog and learned something new today. :)