Four temples on one site
The Tarxien Temples site is a complex of four megalithic structures built between 3600 and 2500 BC by the mysterious creed known as the ‘Temple Builders’. The Tarxien temples are witness to the temple builders’ most sophisticated forms of art, architecture and sculpture. The temples were likely to have been an important hub of economic, political and religious life, though the site itself was re-purposed during the Bronze Age as a cremation cemetery.
The location is currently undergoing extensive restoration, which will include a visitor centre, new walkway and a protective shelter over the temples, to better preserve them.
The Tarxien site is so complex a matrix of narrow passages and megalithic structures, that a visit inspires a new respect for what could be accomplished over 5000 years ago.
The four temples are rich in megalithic art, constructed as they are from stone blocks adorned with relief-work in spiral patterns, as well as the depiction of goats, bulls, pigs and a ram. The significance of the spirals remains ‘occult’ in the strictest sense, though archaeologists believe that the animals depicted may have been sacrificial offerings.
- The replica of the decorated Tarxien altar in the location of the original (which is now on exhibit in the National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta).
- The relief-depictions of animals and spiral motifs.
The fascinating mysteries of the Tarxien site and those who built it are hard to decipher just by wandering around; a guided tour is particularly recommended for this location.
Neolithic Temples Street, Tarxien, Malta.
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- Bus 81, 82, 84 from Valletta Terminus.
- Stop in front of Paola Parish Church and follow the signs. Tarxien temples are only a 5 minutes walk away.
- Mon - Sun from 9am to 5pm. Last admission at 4.30pm.
- Closed on 24, 25 & 31 Dec, 1 Jan, Good Friday.
- €6 adults, €4.50 concessions, €3 children.
The Megalithic Temples: traces of a lost civilisation
Maltese archaeologist Reuben Grima explains why Malta’s megalithic temples can be considered unique architectural masterpieces.