Hagar Qim Temple

Hagar Qim Temple

is one of the megalithic temples which were built on the Maltese islands during the Temple Period 4000b.c. – 2500b.c. Hagar Qim temple stands on a hilltop overlooking the small uninhabited island called ‘Filfla’. 500 meters down the hill, another impressive temple, Mnajdra was built.

Way back in the 18th and 19th century, parts of Hagar Qim temple was already exposed and the first excavations occurred in 1839. The remains suggest a date between 3600b.c. and 3200b.c.

The stone which was used to built Hagar Qim temple, which is widely available locally is called globigerina limestone it’s a sedimentary rock, very soft and easy to quarry. Hagar Qim temple was built with neatly cut slabs creating a monumental building.

The building itself is a made up of rooms build in an apse shape with a central paved corridor with an apse on each side. Walking through the main entrance, the facing apses were closed off with a stone screen having a square porthole cut through them. An outer wall encircles the temple complex with slabs high as 5.2 meters and stone slabs that weigh close to 20 tonnes.

During excavations a decorative slab with a pair of mirrored spirals in relief and a free standing pillar with symbol of a plant were discovered at the main entrance rooms of the temple. The plant, most probably represents wheat or barley because such produce was discovered during excavations.

Proceeding further through the inner most part of the temple one finds an apse on the right and an open space on the left. A hole was discovered in the right apse wall that connects the outer part of the temple with inside. On the first day of summer, 21st June, summer solstice, at sunrise, the sun passes through the hole and is directed to a stone screen inside the apse. The upper circular layers of the same apse, slope inwards, which might show temple roofing.

On the left open space, a set of obese figurines carved in stone were unearthed. Locally, these are better known as the Fat Ladies of Malta and the originals can be seen at the Hagar Qim Visitor’s center and at the National Museum of Archaeology.

Hagar Qim temple is open for the public every day, excluding 24th. 25th ,31st  December, 1st January and Good Friday. It is only 20 minutes drive from Valletta, 15 minutes form Mdina and only 5 minutes from the Blue Grotto.