Nestled in the heart of the Mediterranean, the picturesque island nation of Malta is a living testament to the captivating interplay of history and culture. This enchanting archipelago, with its crystal-clear waters, golden sun-soaked cliffs, and charming fishing villages, has a lot more to offer than just idyllic beauty. Beneath its tranquil surface lies a treasure trove of historical gems, join us on a journey through time as we embark on an exploration of the historical gems of Malta.
Hal Saflieni Hypogeum
Incredible gem: the Hypogeum of Hal Saflieni, a UNESCO heritage site (like dozens of sites in Malta, we’re lucky here!), is a unique place, this is the only underground complex that has survived from this period! Excavated into the live rock, starting around 3500 BC, this ancient site began when the prehistoric community seem to have decided to continue to tunnel deeper into the earth to extend their cemeteries. The site comprises some 50 rooms spread over 2,500 m2 on three levels.
Discover this complex of caves and tunnels on three levels, still a source of surprise and mystery for archaeologists!
The eastern part of Malta is home to the island’s most recent and best-preserved megalithic temples. In 1913, local farmers stumbled upon the Tarxien temples, which were subsequently declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Advice: If you’re planning to visit the Tarxien Temples, we recommend that you use the day to visit the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, as these are two of Malta’s must-visit sites and are very close to each other.
Hagar Qim Temple
One of Malta’s megalithic marvels is the mysterious Hagar Qim Temple in the south of the island. Did you know that it houses a megalith weighing almost 60 tons?
Hagar Qim Temple stands on a hill in the south of Malta, nearby the sea. It is one of Malta’s megalithic temples listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Between 3600 and 3200 BC, Neolithic civilizations built this incredible stone complex using advanced techniques.
You’re probably wondering why this temple was used in the first place? Find out on a guided tour of the temple!
Just 500 metres from the Hagar Qim site is the Temple of Mnajdra, well worth a visit! Mnajdra is one of the oldest religious sites on Earth: just imagine 3600 BC! The temple contains what is considered as the earliest calendar in stone in the world. It seems to have been built in order to indicate the start of the four seasons, as the rays of the rising sun hit certain corners in the temple to indicate that a new season was starting.
An intriguing historical treasure, don’t you think?
Ggantija is one of the main attractions you shouldn’t miss when in Gozo. The ancient site represents the oldest human construction in the world. It predates the pyramids of Egypt and Stonehenge.
Ggantija means “Place of giants” in maltese. As you can imagine from the name, these temples are staggering in their gigantism. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, both impressive and intriguing!
Learn more about the temples of Ggantija on our Gozo Heritage – Hop-On Hop-Off Land & Sea tour!