About Hagar Qim
Hagar Qim is one of Malta’s UNESCO-listed megalithic temples. Dating back to between 3600BC and 3200BC, Hagar Qim is a single temple which stands dramatically on a cliff-edge, although it may once have been a larger complex. There are also some other prehistoric structures nearby.
It’s worth noting that Hagar Qim is not far from the Mnajdra site and the two are usually seen together.
Hagar Qim history
Hagar Qim is part of the Hagar Qim Archaeological Park and is one of the oldest temples in the world. The megalithic temples of Hagar Qim (meaning “Standing Stone”) are the most preserved prehistoric sights. The big stone on the right side of the entrance weighs 20 tones.
Evidence suggests that Hagar Qim was built by stone age people who came from Scilly. Hagar Qim is a temple that was built for worship rather than habitation. Statues were discovered at the site, believed to be related to fertility. Some of these figures are now displayed at the National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta.
The temple was discovered in 1839 AD and further archaeological digs were conducted in 1885 when a number of statuettes and a limestone altar were discovered.
Since then, the work of restoration and consolidation of the temple has continued.
In 2009 a shelter was built to protect the site from the elements.
Hagar Qim today
The materials used by the Neolithic builders to construct the Maltese temple complexes can be found locally. In addition to the hard, chalky coralline limestone, the softer globigerina limestone was also used. Although the temple has been well preserved for several millennia, exposure to the elements is now taking its toll. For instance, on the southern wall of the temple, which is made of globigerina limestone, considerable surface flaking can be detected. By comparison, another temple complex, Mnajdra, just 500 m away from Hagar Qim, and equally exposed to the elements, shows much less damage. This is due to the harder coralline limestone that was used in its construction.
There is an informative hands-on visitors centre to explain the background to the structures, a children’s room with building blocks and an atmospheric 4D film introduction.
The facade, with its trilithon entrance (two upright stones with a third across the top as a lintel), has been restored and gives an idea of what it may once have looked like.
Getting to Hagar Qim
Hagar Qim is around half an hour drive from Valetta. To visit by public transport, take bus 72 direct to Qrendi. It is approximately 25 minutes walk from the Qrendi bus station to Hagar Qim.