The temple of Ħaġar Qim stands on a hilltop overlooking the sea and the islet of Fifla. At the bottom of the hill, only 500m away, lies another remarkable temple site, Mnajdra found above the Southern cliffs. The surrounding landscape is typical Mediterranean garigue and spectacular in its starkness and isolation.

First excavated in 1839, the remains suggest a date between 3600 – 3200 BC, a period known as the Ġgantija phase in Maltese prehistory. Ħaġar Qim was in fact never completely buried as the tallest stones, remained exposed and featured in 18th and 19th century paintings. The site consists of a central building and the remains of at least two more structures. The large forecourt and the monumental facade of the central structure follow the pattern typical of Maltese Prehistoric Temples. Along the external wall one may find some of the largest megaliths used in the building of these structures, such as a 5.2m high stone and a huge megalith estimated to weigh close to 20 tonnes.

The building itself is made up of a series of C-shaped rooms, known as apses. Walking through the main entrance, one finds a central paved space with an apse on each side. These apses are more firmly screened off than is usual at other temple sites using walls and slabs with square shaped portholes cut through as doorways. During excavations a slab bearing a pair of opposing spirals in relief and a free-standing pillar decorated on all four sides were found in the area. These have been replaced with replicas on site and the originals can be found at the National Museum of Archaeology.

Through the inner passage one finds an apse on the right and a large space on the left. The apse on the right has a curious setting of low stone slabs forming an inner enclosure. At the rear of this apse is a small elliptical hole. The rays of the rising sun on the first day of summer, the Summer Solstice, pass through this hole and illuminate one of the low slabs.

The large space on the left holds three high so-called ‘table altars’ and a doorway to an additional chamber reached by three steps. Three more chambers form part of this building but these can only be reached through doorways along the outer wall. Much of interest has been unearthed at Ħaġar Qim, notably stone and clay statuettes of obese figures which are also found at the National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta.

Ħaġar Qim is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, inscribed as part of ‘The Megalithic Temples of Malta’ in the World Heritage List.

References:

Comments

Your name

Website (optional)



Address

Triq Hagar Qim, Qrendi, Malta
See all sites in Qrendi

Details

Founded: 3700-3200 BC
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Malta

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Voodoo Bangla (16 months ago)
Malta's stone henge! It's pretty boring to be completely honest. Not worth the €10 entry fee. If it was €5 euros then I wouldn't have felt ripped off. I understand they need the money for maintenance etc but the price really isn't worth it, unless you're into geology/anthropology.
Con Stroulios (16 months ago)
From the moment you step in via the the theatre, to see and experience the time and age of this place, phenomenal, absolutely amazing, well done with the movie!!! The stage has already been set for what you are about to walk into, in real time, all I can say what an experience!!! Respecting the past and conserving what is left, thus place is older than the Acropolis, pyramids and a lot more. Worth the trip, to take you back through history. My biggest problem, how did they transport from the island, across the sea, to where they were built??? Mystery!!!
Michael Greenberg (17 months ago)
Great examples of Neolithic temples on the southern shore of Malta. Really worth a visit. My only regret was not getting the audio guide. The agent at the ticket counter said it wasn’t necessary as the signs were in English. However there weren’t that many signs and not so informative. Check out the small museum near the movie showing area.
Jamie Wallace (18 months ago)
This is the second time in 15 years I've visited this site. I love it. There's an added 4D video attraction and exhibition with visitor shop. The new narrative of the Sleeping Lady is very creative. Staff very helpful and friendly. The only downside was the coffee machine had no cups left! The restaurant was closed due to the winter season.
Sven Wilbert (18 months ago)
Definitely a place you should visit. The money you pay for it is worth it. The visitors center is equipped with facilities, a parking lot, gift shop, bus stop. Bring some time as the site is quite large with two separate temples. They both have a roof and are about 300m in distance from each other. I definitely recommend to take the audio guide as it is giving extra insight. Must have seen if you are interested in the Neolithic culture on Malta.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Externsteine Stones

The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.

In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.

The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.

The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.