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Temples of Tarxien

Online since: 09. April 2013

Tarxien Temple

The most popular temples of Malta are the Tarxien temples, in the small southeastern village of Tarxien. They were discovered by chance in 1916, after a farmer complained about several large rocks he had found in his field. An archaeologist heard about this and started an excavation that lasted for five years. During this time, they found massive stone ashlars in four different temple complexes. The most important discovery was the statue of a woman, but only the legs and parts of the body were intact. It is assumed that she was a fertility goddess. The walls are decorated with artistic sculptures. The Tarxien phase dates back to 3000-2500 BC and it is assumed that the temple complexes are part of a larger settlement.

Short question: How did the inhabitants move the stone ashlars to their final positions? As you can imagine they weighed several tons each! (Clue: It has nothing to do with trees!)

Answer: The ashlars were probably moved by using round stones as makeshift wheels, or rollers. The massive stone ashlars were put on the round stones and pushed to their final position. The same method can be employed using huge logs, but there are only a few trees in Malta, and at that time, there were probably even fewer.

Tarxien Temple in MaltaThe Tarxien temples are very interesting, and unlike other temple complexes, such as the one of Borg in-Nadur in Birżebbuġa, there is a lot to discover and see. The temple may not be particularly large, but there is much information; small signs in the various rooms and next to the artefacts describe and explain what you are looking at.

Entrance fee for adults is about 2.40 Euros, for students about 1.20 Euros and for children 0.60 Euros.

Business hours: In summer, Mon to Sat, 8 am to 5 pm and Sundays until 4.15 pm; in winter (16 July – 30 Sept.) daily until 2 pm, closed on public holidays.

S. Wagner

Further reading on this subject (from our online bookshop):
Tourist maps with street index (9th edition)
This is the most updated & userfriendly Map of the Maltese Islands. Open the map to see for yourself that the large scale Malta and Gozo map is ea ... mehr
Malta - ITS ARCHAEOLOGY AND HISTORY
Authoritatively written and lavishly illustrated, this book gives a clear and concise account of the history of Malta from its geological formation do ... mehr
Malta: Prehistory and Temples
The great temples of Malta lay claim to be the world's most impressive prehistoric monuments. They stand out as the single great achievement of the so ... mehr

Short info:

Region: Tarxien
Category: Temple

Location on the map in Malta



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