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Hagar Qim Temple

Two major sights are the prehistoric temples of Hagar Qim and Mnajdra, on the south coast. Also of great interest are the enigmatic "cart-ruts" which crisscross the higher parts of the western plateau like railroad lines. Particularly striking examples are to be seen near the Dingli Cliffs. It is now known that these tracks were worn in the soft limestone by the runners of sleds used by the Bronze Age inhabitants of Malta and Gozo as a means of transport.
Scholarly history tells us that this prehistoric temple belonged to an ancient people who worshipped pagan gods and symbols of fertility.
This megalithic structure is in a commanding position on a barren rock plateau overlooking the sea and Filfla. The site remained buried under mounds of earth until its discovery in 1839. The orthostats here are the only ones in Malta to be made of the soft globigerina limestone, and have been weathered.
There appears to be no specific reason for sitting the main five-apse temple with a southeastern aspect. The restored trilithon facade, made up of two upright stones supporting one stone lintel has a striking entrance. Unlike any other temple site, the prehistoric builders of Hagar Qim did not adhere to a trefoil arrangement (symmetrical layout of three chambers). The chambers and apses here connect with one another but not in a uniform plan. Each was built almost as an individual place of worship and it is supposed the whole later evolved into one temple.
The seven 25cm tall headless "Fat" deities, believed to be symbols of fertility, the so-called headless and nude "Venus of Malta" and the exquisite pitted altar with its growing plant motifs found here are now on display in the Archeological Museum. Also note the two pedestalled altars, a betyl or tall cylindrical stone, and the largest megalith, more than seven meters long and weighing approximately 20 tons. The little boulders, the size of bowling balls, strewn about the site were used rather like castors on which the orthostats were inched into place.
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