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The enigma of prehistory

Malta The islan

Hagar Qim Temples

Malta forms part of the continent of Europe.


Prehistoric remains found in Ghar Dalam, a huge cave close to

Birzebbuga, prove that during the Ice Age Malta was a land
bridge connecting the European landmass to Africa. Animals,
like elephants, hippopotami and reindeer, migrated South to
escape the drastic drop in temperature. When the climate
improved, the ice melted and the water rose, so that many
Altar at Hagar Qim
animals perished as the isthmus became a chain of islands.
and of new beginnings

7 000 years ago, the island

of Malta witnessed the
obsidian, these gigantic
structures are the result of a
first traces of man. A thousand superhuman effort made over
years before Stonehenge, several centuries. How were
dozens of mysterious megalithic these blocks of stone,
temples were built all over the weighing several tons, moved
islands. The huge stone and lifted? This is where the
es complexes, which make up mystery lies. "A faith to move
the temples of Ggantija, mountains" is the expression
Hagar Qim, Mnajdra, Tarxien which comes to mind, an
and the underground expression which could
Hypogeum at Hal Saflieni, have been invented to
thrill the imagination. Built describe these creative and
in honour of the peace-loving people, who
Mother-Goddess of fertility, disappeared mysteriously
using tools made of flint and about 2000 years BC.

Prayers to the
farming methods and their stone
crafts, particularly in obsidian and
riginally situated on a land
O bridge linking Europe and
Africa, the Maltese archipelago
flint. More than just a tranquil
haven, the Maltese islands must
have seemed to them a place of
took its present shape after the magic, dedicated from time
global warming which brought immemorial to their deity – the
the Ice Age to an end some 7000 Mother-Goddess of fertility.
years BC. Drawn by the fertility of In 4000 BC, new settlers made
the land, the first settlers came themselves her architects and, in
from Sicily with their traditional the process, built carved
megaliths and magnificent

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Hal Saflieni Hypogeum

T h e e n i gm a of p r e h i s t or y

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Statues Mnajdra Temples Mnajdra

from the past

he pendants, magnificent Mycenaean pottery, suggest
T pottery and finely decorated
objects discovered among the
that in the Bronze Age, Malta
was open to a number of new
We wish to thank our photographers:
Cilia D. : 3-4-5-6-8-9-10-13
MTA : 12
debris close to the temples recall civilisations, particularly those Planchard E. : Cover-1-2-7-11
a golden age of peace and coming from the Aegean. Reproduction of the photographs inclu-
ded in this brochure is strictly forbidden.
prosperity. These invaluable
treasures form part of a
collection, which makes Malta’s
archeological museums a key
site of Mediterranean culture.
The famous Venus of Malta, the
sleeping goddess, and the
statuettes of fat ladies anticipate
a sculpture tradition, which is
later on echoed in the figurines
found on the Greek I s l a n d s .
The mysterious disappearance of
these highly artistic people in
the second millennium was
followed by waves of new
settlers. Several elements, like
inscriptions and f ra g m e nts of

The Christian era
In the year 60 AD, the galleon on which the Apostle Paul was being
taken to Rome as a prisoner awaiting trial, ran aground on the
shores of Malta. Christianity on the island dates back to his three-
month stay here. Several extremely well-preserved catacombs,often
decorated with frescoes, recall the beginnings of a religion which by
the fourth century had become the official religion of the Empire. 9

Maritime Museum - Birgu

From mythology to early

D e co r a t i v e s p i r a l s a n d f r i e z e s
fo un d a t Tar x ie n Te m p l e s

National Museum of Archaeology - Valletta
T h e e n ig ma o f p r e h i s tor y

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St. Paul’s Catacombs - Rabat The Venus of Malta

Christianity The National Museum of

Archaeology in Valletta:
Housed in the Auberge
de Provence,this
museum brings together
a splendid Neolithic col-
lection, as well as a vast
The beloved island array of objects found in
Punic and Roman tombs.
Its position in the centre of the
The Museum of
Mediterranean explains why Archeology in Gozo:
Lo c ated in the citadel
Malta was always at the heart of Victoria, this museum
of things in ancient times from contains a range of
objects discovered on the
the dawn of seafaring. Known island.
as Ogygia, Gozo was the
The Roman Villa - Early Christianity
mythical island where Calypso Roman peace
seduced Ulysses. When the
During the Punic Wars, the For more in form ation c on tact:
Phoenicians (9th century BC)
Maltese islands were invaded
and the Carthaginians (6th
by the Romans.Several remains
century BC) came to Malta, the
from this period can be seen at
islands provided an ideal base
the Museum of Roman
thanks to their many sheltered
Antiquities in Rabat. Known as MALTA TOURIST OFFICE
bays and natural harbours. Unit C, Park House,
the Roman Villa, it houses an 14 Northfi elds
Pottery and various carved London SW18 1DD
array of columns, cornices,
objects suggest that Malta had Tel:(44) 020 7292 4900
fragments of mosaic, ampho- Fax:(44) 020 7734 1880
great prestige at the time.
rae and several statues and
busts, which are among the
best examples of Roman MALTA TOURIST OFFICE
65 broadw ay Suite 823
portraiture. New York NY 10006
Tel:(1) 212 430 3799
Fax:(1) 425 795 3425
Head Office Malta House
LUQA - MALTA LQA 05 36/38 Piccadilly W1J ODP
Tel:(356) 21 662211 / 21 690890 Tel:(44) 0207 292 4949
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back in time
ou can’t possibly escape the
Y spell of a land so profoundly
rooted in the origins of mankind.
As the sun sets over the
omnipresent blue of the
Mediterranean, 7000 years of
history become an unforgettable
image. Here, stones have a soul.
Standing close to them draws you
into the mystery and makes you
tremble at the hidden faith of the
early inhabitants. Malta is among
those rare places in the world
which provide a change of scene
that can take you back in time so
that, for a while at least, the
present fades away.

To visit the sites:

For special visits,guides who speak your
language can be contacted at the
Tourist Information Offices in Valletta,
St. Julians, Malta International Airport
and Mgarr in Gozo.
Mnajdra Temples

Malta Tourism Authority

Auberge d’Italie, Merchants Street,
Valletta CMR 02,Malta
Tel:(356) 22 915 000
Fax:(356) 22 915 893

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