The Megalith temples of Malta are the most ancient religious constructions on our planet and are even older than the famous Egyptian pyramids. It is not surprising that they belong to the World Heritage of UNESCO. The Hagar Qim temple that was constructed in the 4th millennium BC is one of them and nowadays it causes interest of the tourists from all over the world.
Hagar Qim (Maltese – Standing Worshiping Stones) is the megalithic temple complex constructed of huge limestone rocks 5 meters in height and weight up to 20 tons. The average weight of one stone is about 15 tons – an effort of 50 strong men is needed in order to move such a rock from its place. The geological investigations referred that the stones belonged to the period 3600-3200 BC.
The temple has a very complicated architectural structure: it consists of the entrance, the inner yard, the main temple and three additional sanctuaries. The entrance is notable by the biggest rock of the temple whose weight is about 20 tons and the Orthostats – vertically standing stones that probably gave the name to the temple. The walls have special holes that permit the sun rays to pass through them during the sunrise in the days of the summer solstice and to fall to the altar of the main temple lighting it. This fact proves that the antique people who constructed the temple had deep knowledge of astronomy, architecture and engineering. In the centers of all sanctuaries the altars decorated with carved figures of animals are located. Historians suppose that the sacrifices were conducted here by the antique inhabitants of Malta.
The scholars began investigations of this temple in 1836. During the archeological excavations numerous interesting artifacts were found: stone and clay statuettes of Venus, the goddess of fertility, figures of animals and some tools. The majority of the findings are now kept in the National archeological museum of Valetta.
Nowadays the visitor`s centre is situated near the entrance to the temple. It contains the auditorium with the screen where a short film about the history of this site is shown. Also there is an exhibition space displaying reproductions of some artifacts found on the territory of the temple that are kept in the museum.
Unfortunately, the time is ruthless even to such outstanding and monumental objects like the Hagar Quim temple. It is built of limestone – this material is rather soft and is influenced by the weather conditions. In order to save the temple from the destructive influence of nature a protective tent was installed above it in 2009.