Astronomical Alignment Of The Megalithic Monuments,
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.
Information For Visitors To Mnajdra Temples
According to Heritage Malta, during October, the Mnajdra are open from Thursday to Sunday at 10:00 to 16:30 .
This information is common for Hagar Qim, Mnajdra and visitors centre.
The following hours are not admissible at the moment.
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
The premises are closed on 24, 25 and 31st December, 1st January and Good Friday.
On arrival, head 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.
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
* A valid ID or a student card is required
facilities at the 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
Getting to Mnajdra Temples
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
There is a bus stop just outside the premises. There are two bus routes that pass from near Hagar Qim and Mnajdra. You will need to stop on 'Hagar' bus stop.
The bus numbers are as follows:
- To 'Hagar' Bus Stop (Direction to Valletta/Rabat): Direct routes 74, 201.
- To 'Hagar' Bus Stop (Direction to Zurrieq/Airport): Direct routes 74, 201.
- To/From Valletta: Direct Routes 74.
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.
Useful Questions For Visitors
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.
- Malta Prehistoric Temple Tour (Half Day) - With this tour you will visit Ghar Dalam and Hagar Qim and Mnajdra Temples.
- Malta Prehistoric Temple Tour (Full Day) - With this tour you will visit Hagar Qim and Mnajdra Temples, Ghar Dalam Caves, Limestone Heritage, Marsaxlokk 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.
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 all depends on you. There are two temples and a visitors center you can visit. On average people spend around two to three hours.
Can I buy tickets online before going to the temples?
- No, online tickets are not available.
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:
- To the left you visit the Hamrija Tower and the Congreve Memorial.
- 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.
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.
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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 tent to shelter them from the weather. 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.
- 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.
- 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 first, oldest 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.
Things To Do Around Mnajdra
- Eating: You can eat at the restaurant that is located 100 meters away from the temples.
- The closest village is Zurrieq. Other villages very close by are Qrendi, Imqabba, Kirkop and Hal Safi.
- 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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By Albert and Benjamin Magro