Megalithic Temples of Malta (1980, 1992)

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Seven megalithic temples are found on the islands of Malta and Gozo, each the result of an individual development. The two temples of Ggantija on the island of Gozo are notable for their gigantic Bronze Age structures. On the island of Malta, the temples of Hagar Qin, Mnajdra and Tarxien are unique architectural masterpieces, given the limited resources available to their builders. The Ta'Hagrat and Skorba complexes show how the tradition of temple-building was handed down in Malta. 

The megalithic temples of Tarxien were discovered in 1913.

Malta 1983. Europa stamp, showing the megalithic temples.  Malta 1967. Issued for the XV International Congress of the History of Architecture, showing the geometric and animal forms depicted in bas-relief in the temples of Tarxien. Malta 2004. Megalithic temple with the colossal "stone idol", part of a statue that must have measured 2.50 meters in height. 

Tarxien gave its name to the last temple period, which was from 3000 to 2500 BCE. It is situated only a few hundred meters from the Hal Saflieni (the Hypogeum). 

The Tarxien temple complex turned out to be the richest deposit of prehistorical art objects on the Maltese islands, and was left untouched for thousands of years until it was discovered again early 20th century.  Most of the genuine artifacts are shown at the National Museum for Archeology in Valletta, and on the site itself are only shown copies. 

There are four distinct temple units at Tarxien. The oldest one, smaller of size and separated from the others, was built in the Ggantija phase.  The middle temple was the last one to be erected and was wedged between the other two, spoiling the symmetry of the complex itself. The Spiral pattern from the prehistoric temples has become a symbol of Malta itself. 

Many thanks to Mr. Tony Vella (Canada) for all help and research. 

Other World Heritage sites on Malta (on this website). Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, Malta-section, for further information about the individual properties. 

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Revised 21 jul 2006  
Copyright 1999 Heindorffhus 
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