The house of the giants
Older than the Great Pyramid of Giza and Stonehenge, the twin temples of Ġgantija on the island of Gozo are amongst the oldest free-standing stone monuments in the world. Since some of the stones that comprise the dry-walls weigh over 50 tons, it was believed in subsequent centuries that the edifice was the work of giants (Ġgant means ‘giant’ in Maltese), and that the bones of elephants and hippopotamuses found on the island were actually the remains of these mythical giants!
The temples utilise both the hard Coralline Limestone and softer Globigerina Limestone found on the island, and their architectural sophistication displays a mastery of construction techniques that belies their age.
Little is known of the religious ceremonies that took place at the temples, but they are believed to have involved animal sacrifices and liquid offerings poured through libation holes. Even less is known of the customs of the people that created the temples, who disappeared with little other trace around 2500 BC - possibly due to food shortages, disease, or assimilation with new cultures.
- The panoramic vista of the Gozo countryside in which the temples are set.
- The megalithic structures used as outer walls.
- The carved decoration and elaborate altar arrangements.
- Pottery and figurines from the Ġgantija site, and a model of the temple located at the Gozo Museum of Archaeology in Victoria/Rabat.
Check out aerial images of the site on the map before making your visit in order to better understand the complex layout of the temples.
Temples Street, Xagħra, Gozo.
View on Google Maps
- Bus 307 from Victoria, Route 322 from Mgarr (Gozo).
- Mon - Sun from 9am to 5pm.
- Last admission at 4.30pm.
- Closed on 24, 25 & 31 Dec, 1 Jan, Good Friday.
- The North Temple cannot be entered at present for conservation reasons.
- €5 adults, €3.50 concessions, €2.50 children. (Combined ticket with Ta’ Kola Windmill).
Gozo: Ġgantija Temples, the oldest free standing structures in the world
Maltese archaeologist Nicholas Vella brings us on a fascinating tour of the spectacular “temples of the giants”.