Mnajdra equinox

Mnajdra equinox

To be inside the temple during Mnajdra equinox, that’s when the sun slowly rises over the eastern horizon, it’s an unforgettable and “a must” experience. Besides the overwhelming total expression which touches the very core of your emotions, you think: how is it possible that they managed to construct this temple with such precision more than 5,000 year ago. The fact is that the whole central corridor of the south temple is fully bathed in the warm and fire-like illumination of the rising sun.


This illumination is so precise that the temple builders must not only have had an advanced technical and constructional skill, but also a knowledge of horizon astronomy, especially on the sun’s movements.  The big question is: was the Mnajdra South Temple intentionally oriented towards the Equinox by its architects? Well, there is another interesting statement  made by Prof. Frank Ventura, University of Malta, that at the time Mnajdra was constructed the star group Pleiades had its heliacal rising at the same position as the sun. Prof. Ventura asks the right question: may the temple builders  have used the Pleiades as a marker for alignment and not the sun?


What is so special about Equinox, is that in the Spring around 21st March or Autumn around 21st of September, the sun always rises due east and set due west wherever you are in the world. It is also the time when both day and night are equally long. Already in prehistory this may have been a seasonal marker, exactly what it is for us modern humans indicating the beginning of the Summer and the Winter, respectively.


As the Temple Period lasted for several thousand  years before the written language came to Malta, we shall of course never know for a fact what the temple builders had in mind when construction their fantastic monuments. For sure we would like to know and there are many theories and speculations. It may have been a site for keeping track of time to know when to held religious or secular rituals, feasts, ceremonies or animal sacrifices. Nevertheless,  whatever the causes, experiencing the Mnajdra Equinox sunrise, you simply forget the reasoning and just enjoy what you observe.

Mnajdra equinox tickets

During mnajdra equinox, the site is open for the public and one can experience this phenomena live. Contact us for further assistance.