Malta's UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Malta, only 316 square kilometres in size, and home to an impressive 9 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. OK, so if you visit the UNESCO World Heritage Convention website you will find only 3 properties on the Maltese Islands inscribed on the World Heritage List - these are the City of Valletta, the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, and the Megalithic Temples of Malta. However, under the title of "Megalithic Temples of Malta" one can find seven temples around Malta and Gozo, so that makes the total of 9 sites in all.

The oldest of all these temples are the two Ġgantija temples that can be found on the island of Gozo. These temples are renowned for their gigantic Bronze Age structures. Dating from around 3600 to 3200 BC, they are the oldest, free-standing monuments in the world and are evidence that Gozo was inhabited for at least 1000 years before the Egyptians built the pyramids in Giza. Due to the gigantic dimensions of the monuments, locals believed that the temples were built by giants. This ancient legend is what gave the temples their name - Ġgantija means giant in Maltese. 

In Malta, one can find the temples of Ħagar Qim, Mnajdra, Tarxien, Skorba and Ta' Ħagrat
. All of these temples differ greatly in plan, articulation and construction techniques. When one takes into consideration, the limited resources that were available to the builders of these masterpieces, one can really begin to appreciate their uniqueness and the architectural feat that was accomplished all those thousands of years ago.

The Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum, is a rock-cut underground complex that is linked to the above temples because it was used as a place of worship as well as a burial location by the temple builders. The site was first discovered in 1902 during construction works, and remains have been found that are believed to date back to around 4000BC. 

Malta's Capital City, Valletta, came along thousands of years after these temples, in fact construction was started in 1565, meaning that Valletta is celebratin
g its 450th birthday this year! The city was named after Grandmaster Jean Parisot de la Valletta and is often described as a city "built by gentlemen for gentlemen". Must see sites when visiting Valletta include St. John's Co-Cathedral, Malta Experience and the Grandmaster's Palace. 

Want to know more information about any of these sites or would you like to organise a visit to any of them? Feel free to drop us an email, we'd love to hear from you! 


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