Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra temples
The Megalithic temples of Malta (Ġgantija, Ħaġar Qim, Mnajdra, Skorba, Ta’ Ħaġrat and Tarxien) are prehistoric monumental buildings constructed during the 4th and the 3rd millennium BC. They rank among the earliest free-standing stone buildings in the world and are remarkable for their diversity of form and decoration. They were listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980.
The temple of Ħaġar Qim stands on a hilltop overlooking the sea and the islet of Fifla, not more than 2km south-west of the village of Qrendi. At the bottom of the hill, only 500 m away, is another remarkable temple site, Mnajdra found above the Southern cliffs.
One of the prehistoric chambers at Ħaġar Qim holds an elliptical hole which is hewn out in alignment with the Summer Solstice sunrise. On the first day of summer, the sun’s rays pass through this hole and illuminate a stone slab inside the chamber.
During excavations a slab bearing a pair of opposing spirals in relief and a free-standing pillar decorated on all four sides were found in the area. The originals are now at the National Museum of Archaeology, together with stone and clay statuettes of obese figures that have been unearthed on site.