Hagar Qim

Qrendi, Malta

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.

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Address

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

Details

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

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Bart Solodkowski (4 months ago)
Food: Check ✔️- The fish was well prepared and tasty, the muscles were all fresh (not one did not open), medium-sized so tastier Wine: Check ✔️- Very nice local and suitable for the dish at a very reasonable price. Service: Check ✔️- Very friendly and down to earth. Atmosphere: Rustic, fresh air on the beach away from the crowd. Nothing pretentious here, just good food, good service, and a good view. We'll return for the bisque.
Nick M (4 months ago)
I'll preface this by saying rocks, old bits of pots etc leave me cold and deeply uninterested. I was born 30 minutes from Stonehenge and, while I understand it (and Hagar Qim) are impressive, they just aren't my cup of tea. That said the two temples at this site are engaging enough and are situated with dramatic coastal views. Toilets are available. Price includes a short 3d video presentation. Parking is severely limited. €10 entry is on the steep side. Not worth the trip out unless you're hugely into your ancient history or have access to a car.
Jon Hansom (4 months ago)
Neolithic site. Interesting and informative. Take headphones for the audio tour if you can. Not a lot of shade on the path apart from the canopies that cover both sites. Not suitable for young children who may get bored.
Nadsma Kasim (5 months ago)
It is an interesting historical place. If you like history this place is worth to visit. They also offer a 3D short film as an overview of the temple history. We also like the short walking trail around the area which has a nice sea view. You may also bring your snacks, chill and enjoy the view and the cool ocean breeze.
AA (5 months ago)
Interesting place and would recommend. The stones and pebbles were well preserved and easy to walk through. It’s close to the blue grotto and you could just walk there while looking at the amazing view. When you’re there you could walk through the heritage path and see an amazing view. Although it’s a rather short visit which is the only downside.
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