Tarxien Temples

Tarxien, Malta

The Tarxien Temples are an archaeological complex dating to approximately 3150 BC. The site was accepted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980 along with the other Megalithic temples on the island of Malta.

The Tarxien consist of three separate, but attached, temple structures. The main entrance is a reconstruction dating from 1956, when the whole site was restored. At the same time, many of the decorated slabs discovered on site were relocated indoors for protection at the Museum of Archaeology in Valletta. The first temple has been dated to approximately 3100 BC and is the most elaborately decorated of the temples of Malta. The middle temple dates to about 3000 BC, and is unique in that, unlike the rest of the Maltese temples, it has three pairs of apses instead of the usual two. The east temple is dated at around 3100 BC. The remains of another temple, smaller, and older, having been dated to 3250 BC, are visible further towards the east.

Of particular interest at the temple site is the rich and intricate stonework, which includes depictions of domestic animals carved in relief, altars, and screens decorated with spiral designs and other patterns. Demonstrative of the skill of the builders is a chamber set into the thickness of the wall between the South and Central temples and containing a relief showing a bull and a sow.

Excavation of the site reveals that it was used extensively for rituals, which probably involved animal sacrifice. Especially interesting is that Tarxien provides rare insight into how the megaliths were constructed: stone rollers were left outside the South temple. Additionally, evidence of cremation has been found at the center of the South temple, which is an indicator that the site was reused as a Bronze Age cremation cemetery.

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Founded: 3150-3000 BC
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Malta


4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Angela A. (13 months ago)
A worthwhile temple to visit! This is located only a few blocks from the Hypogeum. It's large and fairly well maintained (I saw someone doing restoration work while there as well). There are walkways that go through it, so you can see things fairly close up. There are only a few benches and a well-maintained restroom. Friendly and knowledgeable staff. The only thing to note- if you have an android phone, the audio guide app isn't currently working (no issues with apple phones).
Sam Liddicoat (15 months ago)
A fascinating place that has been very well maintained. The additional information adds context without taking away from the experience. It dives into the different periods of the area. It's easily accessible by a bus which will drop you nearby, there are toilets and a gift shop on site.
Helen M (15 months ago)
Interesting place with so much history. Easy to get to by bus. €6 entry. You can buy tickets on the day or in advance. You can download an app when you are there which gives you more information on the site. They also offer guided tours at specific times if you prefer.
Julie Clarysse (2 years ago)
Not very big, but still worth a visit. You can buy a ticket online or at the office desk for 6 euro. You can also buy a combined ticket to see some other prehistoric places on the island for 13 euros. You can download the Tarxien Temples app and use the audio guide for 99 cents. There is lots of information to read as well though.
Edson Bittencourt Imperico (2 years ago)
The most impressive megalithic temple dating from over 3000 years BC on the main island in Malta. Not far from Valletta. The buses are very reliable and you can get there easily. One wonders how they would have been able those massive stones over 5000 years ago.
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