Hagar Qim & Mnajdra Temples
The Maltese Islands are proud to have three sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. This includes the Capital City of Valletta (European Capital of Culture of 2018), Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum and the Ġgantija Temples, that were added in 1980. Later on in 1992 Ġgantija Temples was renamed to ‘Megalithic Temples of Malta’ and included Ta’ Ħagrat Temples and Skorba complex in Mgarr, megalithic temples of Tarxien, and of course Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra Temples.
It’s not the first time I’m visiting Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra Temples, but each time I go it impresses me again and again. I just cannot get my head around it and believe that something like this was built thousands of years ago!
If you haven’t visited yet, let me walk you though this historical site and if you have, consider this as a reminder of how lucky we are to have something that valuable on our island.
Before you enter the temples, you will walk though the Visior Centre, where you will buy your tickets as well as receive the introductory information to the World Heritage Site through interactive presentations and exhibitions. If you need the the bathrooms, souvenir shop or cafeteria for refreshments, everything is situated in this building.
Now we are on the way to Ħaġar Qim, there is a small ticket booth where they will check your tickets, so you can proceed to the site. The protective shelters were erected in 2009 to slow down deterioration, by protecting the temples from the strong sun, wind and heavy rains.
The origins of Ħaġar Qim date back to 3600 BC and it’s located on a hilltop 2km away from the village of Qrendi overlooking the islet of Fifla. This temple for first excavated in 1839, but in actual fact Ħaġar Qim was never completely buried. The tallest stones stayed exposed and are featured in some of the 18th and 19th century paintings.
On the photo below you can see the main entrance to the central building. Along the external walls you can notice some of the largest megaliths used to built such structures.
This is the so called ‘porthole’ doorway hewn out in a single megalith.
Ħaġar Qim is a circular complex consisting of four temples and two opposite entrances. The main one I already mentioned and the second one you can see below, just underneath this apse.
The most significant relic that was found in Ħaġar Qim was the “Fat Lady” figure, also known as the “Venus of Malta” which is exhibited at the National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta.
Just looking back at Ħaġar Qim before starting our way to Mnajdra Temples. There is a 500m connecting pavement between the two temples. If you have walking difficulties or you had enough walking for the day, there is a transport available via a golf buggy. I believe it’s €1 one way.
And here we are! Please welcome to Mnajdra Temples. Mnajdra consists of three temples known as East, Middle and South. East Temple is the smallest and the most primitive one. The Middle Temple is fairly bare and consists of two champers. The South Temple is the most intact and the most elegant from them all.
Mnajdra’s South Temple is the one that has been proven to be aligned to sunrise on the solstices and equinoxes. You can actually experience the Spring equinox in Mnajdra Temples. This annual event is open to the public and you can buy tickets closer to the date on heritagemalta.com. I thinks it’s about 25eur per person with very limited tickets available.
Last time I visited Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra Temples it was as part of the Hop on Hop off bus tour. I was a proper tourist for a day and it was great! 🙂 But this was the last stop I think and by then we had only one hour left to explore both temples until the last bus would arrive and I can tell you know it was a very rushed visited. I would recommend at least 2 hours if this is something of our interest and you want to enjoy it.
If you have a whole day to spare, which would be absolutely great, you can also visit this awesome natural window that’s situated near by! Ghar Hanex Window is tiny, but beautiful and here is my photo blog dedicated to it.
Below you can see the exact location of Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra Temples just next to it. The entrance ticket to both temples costs 10 eur per person. It’s quite away from everything, so I would suggest you dedicate a day to explore the area. You can start with the megalithic temples and Ghar Hanex Window, stop by the Qrendi and check out the sinkhole and you can finish off your trip at Blue Grotto! How does this sound? 🙂