Hagar Qim Temple Hagar Qim Temple

Hagar Qim

The Hagar Qim temple is said to be among the most ancient religious sites on Earth and is described by the World Heritage Sites committee as unique architectural masterpieces. In 1992 UNESCO recognized the Hagar Qim temple as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is the best-preserved and the most picturesque out of the series of megalithic temples found in Malta and is situated on a hilltop with a backdrop of the Mediterranean sea expanse and the quaint islet of Filfla and lies some 2km from the village of Qrendi in southern Malta and just a short walk from the Mnajdra temple.
Hagar Qim was first excavated in 1839 is thought to date from the Ggantija phase, which is about 3600 to 3200 BC. A number of important artefacts were unearthed, it is about two table-altars, a decorated pillar altar and some of the fat lady statues which are now on display at the National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta.
Hagar Qim is a single temple unit and consists of four or five apses, with a forecourt and facade. This design is typical of Neolithic temples across Malta. Particularly noteworthy are the larger orthostats at the corners, which are notched to take the second of the horizontal courses above. Beyond the first pair of apses, the temple interior is more firmly screened off than is usual at other temple sites. Visual access seems to have been limited to porthole slabs. In the external enclosing wall, the first orthostat behind the right-hand corner of the façade is one of the largest of any temple. Standing at 6.4m long, it is estimated to weigh close to 20 tonnes. The upright menhir stands 5.2m high.
The temples have recently been given a bubble-like cover to protect them from the elements. It was a controversial move and cost €4.7million. What Neolithics would have thought of it, and while the tubular steel structure hardly blends in with the ancient site, it will ensure their survival to be enjoyed by and to baffle future generations of visitors. The jury is still out on whether it was worth the money though, or worth spoiling the view.
If you are beguiled by the mystery of ancient civilisations and the mystique of their arts and crafts, then the Hagar Qim is the right tourist destination for you. It never fails to fascinate.
Just 500m away from Hagar Qim, further towards the cliff face, lies another remarkable temple site, Mnajdra set in a hollow above the Southern cliffs. The surrounding area, which is typical of Mediterranean garigue and spectacular in its starkness and isolation, is designated a Heritage Park.
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