, we visited a huge number of historical sites. It is especially easy to do because this country is so compact that everything is located nearby.
Lovers of ancient history should definitely visit the local megalithic temples. Many of these unusual buildings are more than five thousand years old and they are deservedly considered to be one of the oldest buildings in the world created by human hands. Looking at it, you involuntarily ask a question - how was it created?
There are remains of 23 such temples on Malta and the neighboring island of
. Many of them are only piles of randomly scattered stones, but it was well preserved and also partially restored.
We visited just three ancient megalithic constructions of Malta, and first and foremost we stopped in the museum complex, consisting of two temples
and Mnajdra, as well as a modern museum building.
The entrance fee to the territory of this complex is not cheap. We, as a family of four, would pay about 30 euro (as of 2013), so, without hesitation, I bought a family multi ticket for 65 euro (as of 2013), which include a visit to more than 40 museums in Malta and Gozo. This investment for our five-day stay on the island is a real bargain and it had paid for itself.
Let us renew the subject of the ancient temples. The museum exhibition was not very rich. It is not so much what has been discovered by archaeologists. And anyway, nobody knows for sure who and why had built these temples in Malta. We can only say that people, disappeared mysteriously, were very smart and resourceful.
In the old days on the island, there was a mysterious cult, whose symbol was a female specimen with large forms. Perhaps it was the goddess of fertility. Her figures and remnants of stone statues can be met everywhere in Malta.
The ruins of Hagar Qim are within a few hundred meters from the museum. Few seemingly randomly scattered oval buildings are hidden behind light yellow large stone slabs. Nowadays, you can find there some recovered sacrificial altars.
Unfortunately, the originals of many very valuable items there have been replaced with copies. Whilst the originals are hidden in museum exhibitions of Valletta. Just a kilometer from the Hagar Qim, almost next to a cliff in the Mediterranean Sea, there is one more temple of Mnajdra.
Both these temples are very similar. They were constructed from large blocks of coral limestone. But the shape and the internal arrangement of altars inside are very different. It is not clear why was it necessary to build another one temple not far from the first one.
I was surprised that now both temples are hidden under giant tents that cover the remains of the temples from the destruction of the rain and wind. It is a little funny to look at these pathetic human efforts to preserve what has survived more than five thousand years.
By the way, the main entrance in all of the temples preserved in Malta is directed strictly to the southeast. Apparently, this orientation is connected with the position of the sun during the equinox and solstice.
The next day, we visited the megalithic temple Ggantija, located on the island of Gozo. Another of his name - "Tower of giants." I hear not the first time that the traces of ancient civilizations disappeared without a trace because of giants. Ggantija is really amazing for its powerful views.
There were two separate temples with one shared wall of gigantic 5-7 meter gray boulders, built close to each other on the principle of retention due to its own weight. The temples were identical inside and resembled a form of either a clover leaf or a large body of women.
Passing through the entrance, you find yourself consistently in three large rooms, which served as a symbol of birth, life, and death. There were sacrificial altars in each of these constructions.
More than two hundred years ago Ggantija was buried under the piles of debris. Then the temple was unearthed and it became the subject of pilgrimage. In those days, it was an affair of honor to put an autograph on the powerful stones. Many of these inscriptions have been preserved, becoming a part of history over the years.
All three temple that I have described are now included in the UNESCO World Heritage List and protected by the state. Naturally, the locals are trying to make good money on this as people do it around the world. However, there were no crowds of tourists in the month of October. Although not hot weather was very good for visiting these certainly one of the most interesting places in Malta.
Unfortunately, we were not lucky and we did not get into the so-called cave temple The Hypogeum of Hal-Saflieni. The access for tourists is very limited there, so even during the off-season, you should buy tickets only on the internet for at least one month before your visit. Do not repeat our mistakes and plan a visit to these places in advance!
However, we saw plenty of dungeons on our way. For example, we made a stopover in the village of Nadur in the so-called defensive line Victoria.
In 1897, in order to protect Malta from the landing troops of the enemies, the British built a wall with gun emplacements, which crossed the island across. Nowadays, tourists can stroll along the well-preserved sections of the wall. There are even special tours.
But sometimes the most interesting is hidden behind the walls. The fragment of the long wall is just across the hillside, dotted with ancient graves. Already it is difficult to say who and when buried it there.
The entire right side of the mountain is full of these holes, like an anthill. Unfortunately, today very few people are interested in this place. Therefore, it is full of dirt and garbage.