Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Hagar Qim & Mnajdra Temples


Malta is dotted with prehistoric temple sites, and there are two beside each other on the west coast of the island, very near the Blue Grotto.  For a mere nine euros you get to visit both of them plus the attached museum, which provides information about the people who constructed these edifices.













Now it should be said that time plus weather are not kind to outdoor
stone monuments, and the temples are somewhat ravaged by a combination of both plus their exposed location on the edge of the cliffs.  (And a beautiful location it is too - walking down the path to Mnajdra all you can hear are the waves, the birds and the chirping of insects).   So in an attempt to preserve what remains, both temples are covered with large tents to shelter them from the worst of the elements.  While I'm sure this is a sensible precaution, it does detract from the ambience somewhat.  Now these temples are among the oldest free-standing structures left in the world, which is an impressive thing.  And their construction displays some complexity; it was quite a feat of engineering back in 3600B.C., and no mean feat today either.  But this very complexity means it lacks the graceful spareness of a Stonehenge, instead you are confronted by a jumble of rocks from which it is difficult to form a coherent picture of exactly how the temples would have looked when they were completed.

Still well worth a visit and located on a lovely part of the island - you can combine a trip here with a visit to the Blue Grotto or the Dingli cliffs.

Get there on the 201 bus* (from Rabat or the airport) or on the Hop-on-Hop-off sightseeing buses.


A visit to a neolithic temple site is one of the Top Ten Things to Do in Malta


*Bus Journey in Malta Warning:
Again - not the easiest of trips when you're relying on the local buses.  I didn't know the best way to get here so elected to go to Valletta first and get a connection from there.  Went to Valletta and the information desk guy told me to take the 71 to the temples.  Unfortunately, the 71 stops in some little village a few kilometres away from where we were going, so we had to wait for the (once per hour) 201.  With all the changing and waiting this took a while.  Going back, we were lucky to squeeze onto the 201 going to Rabat from the Blue Grotto stop.  The driver sped past the queue of beseeching tourists at the next stop with a wave of the arms and a roar of "GAME OVER!  GAME OVER!" in their direction.  An hour to Rabat, more waiting, another 45 minutes back to St Julian's, and this was in mid-March, before the summer season kicks in... if you're only here in Malta for a few days: Rent A Car!


But if you insist, check out bus routes & numbers below:  

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