Paola, Malta Tourist Attractions
Paola (pop. 12,000), lying south of Mars 1km / 0.75mi from Grand Harbor, is a modern town with streets laid out on a regular grid plan.Paola is the 17th century "new town" sewn into the north edge of Tarxien. Called Casal Nouva when it was founded in 1626, it was designed for the higher ground above the harbor to catch the sea breezes of summer. One of the sights here is the 1626 church Santa Ubaldesca, 350m west of the prison, and the new church dedicated to Christ the King, built in 1924. It has a Neo-Classical style and was built using modern techniques and materials.
Hypogeum of Hal Saflieni
Paola's principal attraction is the Hypogeum of Hal Saflieni, a Neolithic cult site of a type unique in the world which was discovered during the construction of a cistern in 1902. The sanctuary, entered through a modern doorway of dressed limestone, consists of a complex of catacombs hewn from the native rock with stone tools over a period of many centuries to a depth of 30ft/9m below the ground a system of chambers, passages and stairways on three levels dated by the experts to at least 5,000 years ago, and on the basis of the latest studies to as much as 7,000 years ago. In this underground labyrinth the early inhabitants of Malta performed religious rituals and consulted oracles. The catacombs were also used for burial, as the remains of some 6,000-7,000 people found here have shown. In the National Museum of Archeology can be seen unique clay figures from the Hypogeum, together with stone figures of birds and - most notable of all - a female figure (probably a priestess) lying on a couch.The Hypogeum is closed pending the completion of major works but a scale model of the site can be seen at the National Museum.
Tarxien is a significant archeological attraction in Malta. This pre-historic cult site was first built in 3000 BC and excavated in 1914.