The Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum to re-open on 15th May

After months of major conservation works, the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum will re-open its doors to the public on 15th May. These works reviewed and redesigned the environmental management of the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum and included also new visitor facilities. This project was supported by a grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Grants 2009-2014.

Tickets are now available ONLINE. Tours in the underground prehistoric cemetery will still be held every hour and there will be a total of eight tours every day. Thanks to new technology, visitors who do not manage to book a ticket for the regular tour, will still have the opportunity to explore this prehistoric site through a new immersive experience installed in the redesigned interpretation centre. 70 tickets for this Audio Visual Show will be available daily, and these can be booked through the same website.

Ticket prices for the regular tours are as follows: €35 Adults; €15 Children; €20 Seniors/Students; €40 Last minute tickets. Heritage Malta Members benefit from a 50% discount.

Ticket prices for the Audio Visual Show in the new interpretation centre are as follows: €5 Adults; €3.50 Seniors/Children/Students/Concessions (tickets will be available at a later date).

The Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum, an underground prehistoric cemetery used from around 4000BC to 2500BC, is one of the most extraordinary archaeological sites in the world. It has been recognised by UNESCO as a site that “bears unique testimony to a civilization which has disappeared”.

The site consists of a series of rock-cut chambers set on three levels. Carved in the living rock, some of the chambers of the Hypogeum are very similar to contemporary built megalithic structures. The walls and ceilings of some of the rooms are also painted in red ochre. The preservation of these paintings remains the site’s main conservation concern.

Scientific missions aimed at assisting the Maltese Government in preserving the site, underlined the importance of maintaining climatic conditions within it stable. An environmental control system was installed in the 1990s, however technological advances and improved understanding of the challenges faced on this site have necessitated the review and redesign of its environmental management.

A project supported by a grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Grants 2009-2014 has provided Heritage Malta with the necessary funds to conduct more studies to assess the current condition of the site in terms of conservation, geology and organic residues. Another important element of the project involved the installation of a micro-climate management system, with both passive and active control measures. Passive measures included the replacement of the existing insulated roof sheeting which covers the monument to eliminate rainwater leakage, improvement of the insulation of the external walls and elimination of fabric-lined wall-panelling and flooring. Active measures involved the installation of an advanced environmental management system designed to keep humidity and temperature levels stable, at the levels required for the preservation of the site. This system incorporates some elements of the previous design, but makes use of better and more efficient technology.

Additional works also include the investigation and replacement of overlying connections to water mains and sewers, as well as new visitor facilities which make better use of the limited space within the building.