"Hagar Qim and Mnajdra" Qrendi by leics
Qrendi Travel Guide: 0 reviews and 11 photos
Hagar Qim and Mnajdra, near the village of Qrendi, are two stunning megalithic temples set in a stunning position overlooking the dark turquoise sea.
Hagar Qim dates from around 3600 to 3200 BC. Its huge stones form a single temple space, although there were once apses lading off (as is the norm in Maltese prehistoric temples). Other ruined buildings lie nearby, obviously once part of a larger complex.
Mnajdra lies a little further down the cliff. It's actually three temples, the oldest dating from the same period as Hagar Qim, the most recent from around 3150 -2500BC.
Many of the artefacts unearthed at these temples (Hagar Qim was first excavated in 1839) have been removed and are now at the National Museum of Archaeology in Valetta. But there is still much to wonder at, not least the height of the 'altars' (it is not surprising that for centuries people thought the temples were built by a race of giants), the beautifully carved 'portholes' for viewing ceremonies (perhaps), the equally beautifully carved holes for door fittings, the dotted decoration still remaining on some of the stones.
I love places like this. even if they have been a little too obviously restored (as is the case with part of Hagar qm), even if there are others around.
They resonate. They pique the imagnation.
We know so little of prehistory, and nothing of their beliefs, or their culture, or their daily lives. All is supposition, however many academic studies are pursued and papers presented. It will continue to be supposition, unless someone invents a time-machine. That's why it's so fascinating.
But there are similarities with prehistory elsewhere, including the UK. Sprials, and whorls, an awareness of the movement of sun and stars through the year, enormous stone structures built with immense care and even more immense effort.
Whatever they meant, whatever happened there, they really mattered to the people who created them.
They are building a new visitors' centre at the site, and trying to find a way to cover the temples up so they are not further damaged by exposure. This is a good thing and a bad thing: their position is an essential part of their existence, in my opinion, and covering them must inevitably detract from their impact. But better to be covered than to be destroyed.
If you visit, try to do so early or late i the day. Like all such sites, they are best experienced when one is alone or, at least, with few others around.
- Pros:Unique prehistoric sites
- Cons:Best visited when not too many people around
- In a nutshell:Hagar Qim and Mnajdra...unique temples
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