Set in the heart of Mġarr, a village in Northwest Malta, and smaller than most other sites of a similar nature, Ta’ Ħaġrat is home to two well-preserved structures. The site was excavated between 1923 and 1926 with some other minor interventions in 1953 and in the 1960s. The larger of the two buildings dates from the earliest phases of megalithic construction – the Ġgantija phase (3600 – 3200 BC).
This structure has a monumental doorway and facade which give the site two of its most awe-inspiring and renowned characteristics. Other features include a bench, running along the facade’s length, as well as a courtyard, measuring approximately 2.5m by 4.5m, surrounded by a raised stone kerb. This space, accessible through the entrance corridor of the temple, provides access to three chambers through megalithic doorways. The main doorway of this structure was restored in 1937 with the replacement of the door lintel in its original position. The smaller structure, built on a 4-apse plan, is linked to the earlier one through a doorway in the eastern room.
The dating of this building is still uncertain although the finds indicate a Saflieni phase (3,300 – 3,000 BC) date. Ceramic material from both earlier and later periods were also found within the site indicating that the site was used both before and after the construction of the Temples.
Reasons to Visit
- 1. A Maltese Prehistoric Temple site inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
- 2. One of the oldest free-standing monuments of such scale and complexity in the world.
- 3. Its monumental and awe-inspiring facade, including the unique stepped doorway leading into the Temple, allows one to appreciate better the genius of Maltese megalithic construction in a time when it was limited to stone, bone and wooden tools.
- 4. The only Temple site which is built entirely of local Upper Coralline Limestone.
- 5. Its location offers not only a magnificent view of rural Maltese environment, but puts the visitor into the same landscape setting that surrounded the prehistoric temple builders.