Thursday, September 16, 2010

Old Pile Of Rocks

While in Malta I visited a few of the megalithic temple sites. The megalithic temples are said to be the oldest surviving free standing structures in the world. They were built between 3600 and 2500 BC. When visiting the Museum of Archaeology in Valletta they had a display of the of the ancient things in the world and I was surprised how many I have visited. The temples in Malate were around before Stonehenge and the pyramids in Egypt which are 2 other the places that I have visited.

If you interested in the Megalithic temples in Malta you can read all about them on Wikipedia.

I visited the Hypogeum and Tarxien Temples when I was staying in Valletta. I found the Hypogeum sort of interesting. The site is underground and it was discovered when building houses over it but the find was not reported until a lot of damage was done to the level just below the ground. There is about 4 levels under ground and they believe this unground temple was used to bury the dead. The tour had very low lighting to try and protect the temple but made it a bit hard to see. They also kept the tour groups very small and only have a small number of tours. They allow around a 100 people a day to tour the site. I bought my ticket prior to going to Malta so was able to get in but don’t think it was worth the 20 euros for the hour tour. You also can't take any pictures so I don't have any pictures to remind me of what it is like to be in a grave. The Tarxien Temples is about a 10 minute walk from the Hypogeum and it is above ground and the ruins of a temple. Some of the carving in the stones were interesting but I don’t think I would have been upset if I missed this temple. When I went to Gozo I visited another one of the temple sites called Ggantija which are some huge stone set up to form a temple with a circle of larger stones going around the temples. When I was at this site I recalled a trip to Mexico and my visit to Chichen Itza. A guy in my tour group around Mexico kept saying oh good we get to see another pile of rocks. I was really impressed with Chichen Itza but can't say that about Ggantija. Ggantija seemed to fit the description except it would have to be changed to a pile of really big rocks. When I returned to the main island of Malta I was driving past Hagar Qim and Mnajdra Temples. The guide book says these are the best preserved of the temples. I walked up to where the first temple was and ask how much it was. The guard told me I needed to go into the building down the hill and buy a ticket. I saw there was a path around the outside of the fence where you could still sort of see the temples. Since I had been so impressed with the other temples I had already seen I decided the view from outside the fence was good enough for me. If any one asks me I can still say I have seen these old pile of rocks beside if you have seen one pile of rocks you may have seen them all.

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