"More prehistoric temples................." Mgarr by leics

Mgarr Travel Guide: 6 reviews and 18 photos

This Mgarr is on the island of Malta: it's not the Mgarr on Gozo where the ferry docks.

It's actually a fairly small village with (inevitably in Malta) a fairly enormous church in its centre. It's not an old village, being mostly settled during the mid 19th century, but two prehistoric temple sites lie nearby.

Ta Hagrat temples are in the village of Mgarr itself. Get off the bus (47, from Valletta or Mosta) in the village centre, and walk back the way the bus has come. After a few metres there is a tiny sign on the right pointing you down a narrow road to the temples. They have limited opening hours (as we discovered, arriving about 10 minutes after the man had gone.to the next set of temples we visited, as it happens) so best check before you set out that it is still Tuesday mornings from 9.30 to 11 for Ta Hagrat, and 11.30 to 1pm for Skorba.

Fortunately, the Ta Hagrat site is open-fenced, so I could at least take some photos through the mesh.

Ta Hagrat temple was discovered by chance in 1916, as a pile of stones in a field and was excavated properly in the 1960's. The temples (there are two, side by side) date from around 3600 to 3200 BC (BCE), known as the 'Temple period' in Malta because that's when they were all constructed. One of them has three 'apses', like other temples on the island, and part of a paved 'corridor' still remains in place.

Skorba temples lie about half a mile back up the road to Mosta, an easy walk. They too are not particularly easy to find nor well-signed, but if you walk up the main village street to your left (it's a hamlet really), then turn left again, you will eventually find the site tucked away in greenery.

There aren't so many stones remaining on this site (although there is an interesting one hidden in the grass which has 5 depressions for libations) but is is an important site neverthless. Excavations revealed good stratigraphy (that is, layers of deposits) and pottery which enabled archaeologists to properly date occupation periods starting from around 5000 BC.

This is the stone with the libation holes.

I think I would have felt happier if the site had been a little better managed (allowing grass etc to overgrow exposed monuments is not really a very good idea, once the gradual build-up of earth which overlay them has been removed by excavation). The cranes overshadowing it, and the huge amount of building going on everywhere in Malta (seemingly) do somewhat detract from the impression such sites make. But Skorba was made a World Heritage site in 1992, along with other Maltese temple sites, so perhaps things will improve. I hope so.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Unique prehistory
  • Cons:Not so easy to find and not especially well-managed
  • In a nutshell:Wonderful prehistoric temples
  • Last visit to Mgarr: Dec 2006
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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  • unravelau's Profile Photo
    Jun 23, 2007 at 1:23 PM

    Old rock enthusiasts would be wise to take your pages when they visit Malta. Very helpful information here. Carole.


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