Mnajdra Temples

Astronomical Alignment Of The Megalithic Monuments,
Neolithic Architecture

Date Last Updated: 12th November 2019

Are you aware that when you come for your Malta Holiday you can visit the oldest complex structures in the world? The Hagar Qim Archaeological Park incorporates the Hagar Qim and Mnajdra temples a modern visitor centre and a good 4D introductory film.

Apart from the temples the area is so beautiful, pristine landscape on high ground facing the open Mediterranean Sea and the small island of Filfla. You will be amazed to walk in this natural open rocky landscape with smell of vegetation. It is well worth taking the time to visit these old temples.

A Brief About Mnajdra History

The Mnajdra Temples ("mna-ee-dra") is a complex made up of three temples adjacently joined to one another but not connected. They are located close to Hagar Qim Temples.

Each one of the temples has a separate entrance and consists of a number of altars and oracles which were used by the worshipers to communicate with the gods. The small walls have been rebuilt.

The Temples lie on a rugged stretch of coast typical of the Maltese coast  for this area. Today the temples are covered with a huge cover to protect them from the elements. The temples are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites status. The two complexes, the Hagar Qim and this of Mnajdra, seem to have been built at different times, and their relationship is not known.

The main entrance into the temple is through a Trilithon entrance.

Astronomical alignment of the south temple

- It is a fact that in the south temple three aces are aligned with the position of the sun as it rises over the horizon on the first day of each of the four seasons of the year.
- It was purposely built in such a position so that the sun shines in between the stone at the Equinox and the Solstice. This used to help the people of the time to know when the seasons change and they need to harvest their crop.

The Equinox

- It happens on the 20th March and the 23rd September each year.
- At this time, the sun can be seen directly above the earth‘s equator and therefore on these dates, the night and day are nearly of the some length.
- The rays of the sun pass directly through the temple’s main doorway and light up the main axis.

The Solstice

- It occurs on the 21st June and the 21st December of each year.
- The Solstice occurs twice a day whenever the earth's axis tilts the most toward or away from the sun, causing the sun to be the farthest north or south at noon.
- At the Summer Solstice, the rays of the sun light up the edge of the Megalith to the left of the doorway, connecting the first pair of chambers to the inner chambers.
- At the Winter Solstice, the same effect can be seen on the corresponding Megalith, this time on the right hand side.
- The temples are open to the public at sunrise on the spring equinox to allow visitors to view the impressive event.

Description of each temple

Oldest and Smallest Temple

The northern/eastern temple at Mnajdra was built 3600-3200 BC not long after Ggantija was built. It is the firstoldest and smallest temple laid on a simple three-apsed structure. The small upright stones with pitted decorations are the originals.

Middle Largest Temple

The middle largest temple was constructed 3150-2500 BC. Set in the middle of the other two standing at a higher level. It has an unusual three metre doorway which has broken through times and a second one beside it. A very interesting engraving of a temple facade is located to the left of the passage leading to the inner apses.

The Most Impressive Temple

The southern/western temple dates from around 2000 BC. This is the most impressive of all three as it has corbelled walls which indicate that it was roofed like that of Ggantija in Gozo. The facade is largely intact.

The stone slabs are decorated with fascinating spiral carvings and dotted patterns. The porthole niche to the left is especially impressive, framed in a trilithon and two strangely tapered megaliths on either side.

Trip Advisor 5 Star Reviews

One of the highlights of Malta.

"The Mnajdra Temples are a must see in Malta. It is well preserved and the view over the ocean is spectacular. These ancient people certainly knew where to build their temples."

Beautiful setting

"This is a small but very very old temple in a great setting overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. I love the way how they have covered it to protect it from the harsh sun. Go on a sunny day and this looks even better."

Brilliant

"Nice walk down to this second Temple and equally fascinating as the Hagar Qim Temple. Ticket was taken by a nice man who was pleased to see us and made us feel welcome. Well worth the visit."

Admission to Mnajdra Temples

This information is common for Hagar Qim, Mnajdra and visitors centre.

Winter opening hours – November to May

- Monday to Sunday: 09:00 – 17:00
- Last admission 16:30

Summer opening hours – June to October

- Monday to Sunday: 09:00 – 18:00
- Last admission 17:30

Closed on 24, 25 and 31st December, 1st January and Good Friday.

People walking down the passage way to Mnajdra Temple

Tickets:

- The first thing you do is you go to the visitors centre to buy the tickets.

- Visit the museum and watch a 4D presentation film. Then you walk to the Hagar Qim temples

- Further down, Mnajdra is 600 meters away from Hagar Qim by walking down the passage way between the two sites within the same Archaeological park.

- To enter Mnajdra you will need to first pass through Hagar Qim. You only need one ticket for all the visit.

- Adults (18 – 59 years): €10.00
- *Youths (12 – 17), *Senior citizens (60 years &- over), *Concessions and *Students: €7.50
- Children (6 - 11): €5.50
- Infants (1 - 5): Free

* When purchasing ticket you must provide a valid ID or a student card

How can I buy tickets?

- If you want to just go to Hagar Qim and Mnajdra, you will need to purchase the tickets from the ticket office in the visitors center.

What if I want to tour other temples together with these?

There are a couple of tours available that combine different sites together.

1. Malta Prehistoric Temple Tour (Half Day) - With this tour you will visit Ghar Dalam and Hagar Qim and Mnajdra Temples.

2. Malta Prehistoric Temple Tour (Full Day) - With this tour you will visit Hagar Qim and Mnajdra TemplesGhar Dalam CavesLimestone HeritageMarsaxlokk Fishing Village and Blue Grotto.

If you purchase tour tickets from any of the above two links, enter 'maltainfoguide' in the coupon box for a 5% discount.

Getting to Mnajdra Temples

Getting There: First you have to arrive to the Hagar Qim Archaeological Park by car or public transport. By car drive towards Zurrieq and Qrendi following the main roads and follow the signs to the temples. There is ample parking available close to the temples and adjacent to the visitor’s centre.

Where is Mnajdra Temples?

Where is the path between Hagar Qim and Mnajdra temples?

The path is on the other side of Hagar Qim temple. It is a 600 metre down hill to Mnajdra. Below shows you the length and the estimated time it will take you to walk.

Malta Public Transport: You need to stop at 'Hagar' bus stop. The buses that stop on that bus stop are route 201 and 74. The bus stop is adjacent to the temples.

Hop-On Hop-Off Routes: The Red South Route of both sightseeing operators pass from here with a stop at the main road a minute walk to the temples beside the public transport.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I enter the nearby watchtower?

No the watchtower is not open to the public, but you can walk to it through a path.

How much time is required to spend at the temples?

- It depends on your interest. The site has two temples a visitors centre plus a cafe area. You will need a couple of hours to go round the sites and admire the history.

Can I buy tickets online before going to the temples?

No you cannot buy online tickets. You will need to buy them when you arrive.

What else can you do in the surrounding areas?

There is a natural trail which starts from mid-way the path between the temples. You have 2 options:

1. To the left you visit the Hamrija Tower and the Congreve Memorial.

2. To the right you walk for around 15 minutes to the Misqa reservoirs presumed to be built by the temple builders were they dug reservoirs and water ways to collect water.

Helpful Information about Mnajdra

Facilities found at Hagar Qim Archaeological Park:

- A fee is required to enter the temples
- It is open all year round
- There is an onsite museum
- There is an audio visual guide
- There are family activities
Wheelchair accessible
- Onsite restaurant
Souvenir Shop
Photography is allowed
Parking is available onsite

Eating: You can eat at the restaurant that is located 100 meters away from the temples.

Closest Village: Zurrieq is the closest village. Other villages very close by are Qrendi, Imqabba, Kirkop and Hal Safi.

Cultural Attractions: 

- The magnificent Blue Grotto is a kilometer away from Hagar Qim temples.

- There is a watch tower called Wardija Tower built by Grand Master of the Order of Malta Martin De Redin, completed by June 1659. The original name was Torre della Quardia di Giorno.

- Between this temple and Mnajdra Temple sites there is another watch tower known in Maltese as “Hamrija Tower” (Soil Tower) built by the Knights of Malta.

- Further on there is a small Location known as Ghar Lapsi. It is about 5 kilometres from Hagar Qim and Mnajdra. It is used by a few fisherman and in summer it is a popular swimming spot. There is also a restaurant here which is very famous for traditional Maltese rabbit food.

Mnajdra Temples should be visited like all other temples in Malta.

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