Ta' Hagrat Temples

Mġarr, Malta

The Ta' Ħaġrat temples in Mġarr, Malta is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with several other Megalithic temples. They are amongst the most ancient religious sites on Earth. The larger Ta' Ħaġrat temple dates from the Ġgantija phase (3600–3200 BCE); the smaller is dated to the Saflieni phase (3300–3000 BCE).

The excavation of plentiful pottery deposits show that a village stood on the site and predates the temples themselves. This early pottery is dated to the Mġarr phase (3800-3600 BCE). Ta' Ħaġrat is built out of lower coralline limestone, the oldest exposed rock in the Maltese Islands. The complex contains two adjacent temples. The smaller temple abuts the major one on the northern side.

The two parts are less regularly planned and smaller in size than many of the other neolithic temples in Malta. Unlike other megalithic temples in Malta no decorated blocks were discovered; however a number of artifacts were found. Perhaps most intriguing is a scale model of a temple, sculpted in globigerina limestone.

The major temple is typically trefoil, with a concave façade opening onto a spacious semicircular forecourt. The façade contains a monumental doorway in the center and a bench at its base. Two steps lead up to the main entrance and a corridor flanked by upright megaliths of coralline limestone.

The corridor leads into a central torba court, radiating three semi-circular chambers. These were partially walled off at some time in the Saflieni phase; pottery shards were recovered from the internal packing of this wall. The apses are constructed with roughly-hewn stone walls and have a rock floor. Corbelling visible on the walls of the apses suggest that the temple was roofed.

The minor temple rests to the north and is six and a half meters long. It is entered through the eastern apse of the larger temple. Smaller stones have been used in its construction and it exhibits irregularities in design considered archaic or provincial.

The site was excavated between 1923 and 1926 by Sir Temi Zammit, then Director of Museums. The site was again excavated by John Davies Evans in 1954, and British archaeologist David Trump accurately dated the complex in the 1961 excavation.

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Ta' Hagrat, Mġarr, Malta
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Founded: 3600-3000 BC
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Malta

Rating

3.9/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

D P (16 months ago)
More to see, less mud,
Chris Morey (2 years ago)
Reportedly the oldest free-standing structure on Earth, sufficiently renovated to get a clear impression though not over-restored. Okay, you have to like ruins, but this is quite a special one. Skorba Temple 1km away is also definitely worth a visit
Rowland Chappell (2 years ago)
Extremely better renovated since when, years ago, i used to work there as security. Still marvellous stone age historical site. Unique in itself!
André Fichtner (2 years ago)
My recommendation: DON’T GO THERE!!! Maybe I can’t appreciate that sort of culture enough or it’s just the way Malta Heritage rips off people: Tickets NOT like on the website just for this temple, only as package with Skorba Temple which is even more in poor condition. Each text sign is bleached by the sun and you don’t get any more information. Some parts of the site are locked (I see the point) but all you see after entering you can also see from the fence. Maybe the other temples are more worth it, but after this experience we erased megalithic culture from our holiday plans.
Mouhamadou Ndiaye (2 years ago)
Unique place to visit. Just remember to buy your ticket in advance because they're not sold on site
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