Megalithic Temples of Malta

Megalithic Temples of Malta

Seven megalithic temples are found on the islands of Malta and Gozo, each the result of an individual development. The two temples of Ggantija on the island of Gozo are notable for their gigantic Bronze Age structures. On the island of Malta, the temples of Hagar Qin, Mnajdra and Tarxien are unique architectural masterpieces, given the limited resources available to their builders. The Ta'Hagrat and Skorba complexes show how the tradition of temple-building was handed down in Malta.

Temples mégalithiques de Malte

Les îles de Malte et de Gozo abritent sept temples mégalithiques, chacun témoignant d'un développement distinct. À Gozo, les deux temples de Ggantija sont remarquables pour leur réalisations gigantesques de l'âge de bronze. Dans l'île de Malte, les temples de Hagar Qin, Mnajdra et Tarxien sont des chefs-d'œuvre architecturaux uniques étant donné les ressources très limitées dont disposaient leurs constructeurs. Les ensembles de Ta'Hagrat et de Skorba témoignent de la façon dont la tradition des temples s'est perpétuée à Malte.

معابد مالطا المبنيّة من الأحجار الضخمة المستعملة في عصور ما قبل التاريخ

في جزيرتي مالطا وغوزو سبعة معابدَ مبنيّة من الأحجار الضّخمة المستعملة في عصور ما قبل التاريخ، يشهد كلُّ معبدٍ منها على تطوّرٍ مميّز. فغوزو تضمّ معبدَي غانتيا الفريدَيْن بسبب بنائهما الهائل الذي يعود الى العصر البرونزي. أما في جزيرة مالطا، فتُعتبر معابد هاغاركين ومونيادري  وتركسيان  تحفًا هندسية فريدة نظراً للمصادر المحدودة جدًا التي كانت متوفرةً في ذلك الوقت لمعمرّيها. كما تشهد مجموعة تاهاغراط  وسكوربا على الطريقة التي أتاحت لتقاليد المعابد أن تدوم في مالطا.

source: UNESCO/ERI

马耳他巨石庙

在马耳他岛和戈佐岛上发现了七个巨石庙,其中每一个都是独立发展的结果。戈佐岛上的两座詹蒂亚寺庙以其巨大的青铜时代建筑而最引人注目。对当时的建筑者来说,资源非常有限,考虑到这一点,马耳他岛屿上的哈贾尔基姆、姆纳耶德拉和塔克西恩也可以看作是举世无双的建筑精品了。Ta'Hagrat 和 Skorba 建筑表现了马耳他寺庙建筑传统的流传方式。

source: UNESCO/ERI

Мегалитические храмы Мальты

На островах Мальта и Гоцо найдены семь мегалитических святилищ, каждое из которых имеет свою историю. Два святилища Джгантии на острове Гоцо замечательны своими гигантскими сооружениями, относящимися к бронзовому веку. Святилища Хаджьяр-Им, Мнайдра и Таршьен на острове Мальта – это уникальные архитектурные сооружения, воздвигнутые древними строителями, в распоряжении которых были весьма ограниченные ресурсы. Комплексы Та-Хаграт и Скорба демонстрируют процесс формирования на Мальте традиций сооружения храмов-святилищ.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Templos megalíticos de Malta

Las islas de Malta y Gozo albergan un total de siete templos megalíticos con características individuales propias bien diferenciadas. En Gozo, los dos templos de Ggantija se destacan por sus gigantescas estructuras de la Edad del Bronce. En Malta, los templos de Hagar Qinn Mnajdra y Tarxien son obras maestras arquitectónicas únicas en su género, habida cuenta de los recursos extremadamente limitados de que dispusieron sus constructores. Los conjuntos de T'Hagrat y de Skorba atestiguan la perdurabilidad de la tradición de construcción de templos en Malta.

source: UNESCO/ERI

マルタの巨石神殿群

source: NFUAJ

Megalithische tempels van Malta

Er bevinden zich op de eilanden Malta en Gozo zeven uit grote stenen opgebouwde tempels, elk het resultaat van een specifieke ontwikkeling. De twee tempels van Ggantija op het eiland Gozo, zijn bijzonder vanwege hun uit het Bronzen Tijdperk stammende bouwwijzen. Op het eiland Malta staan de tempels van Hagar Qin, Mnajdra en Tarxien. Gelet op de beperkte middelen die beschikbaar waren voor de bouwers zijn dit unieke architectonische meesterwerken. De Ta’Hagrat en Skorba complexen laten zien hoe de traditie van de tempelbouw werd door gegeven in Malta. Ze zijn beide essentieel om de grote meesterwerken te begrijpen.

Source: unesco.nl

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The Megalithic Temples of Malta, Hagar Qin © Sacred Sites
Long Description

The monuments that make up this World Heritage site constitute the most characteristic examples of structures representing a major development in the cultural as well as the artistic and technological domains. Professor Lord Renfrew (Cambridge University), one of the leading prehistorians of the present day, has described the group of megalithic temples on the islands of Malta and Gozo as 'the oldest free-standing monuments in the world'. They are, moreover, remarkable for their diversity of form and decoration.

Being among the remarkable megalithic temples of the Maltese archipelago, the prehistoric ensemble of Ġgantija on the island of Gozo may be favourably compared with the three great temples of the island of Malta: Mnajdra, Ħagar Qim and Tarxien. Within a completely preserved enclosure wall, Ġgantija consists of two temples of multi-foil plan.

The southern temple, with its two elliptical cells, is the oldest; the northern temple, which is small in size, is more recent, although no later than 2200 BC. The ensemble of Ġgantija which serves as a point of archaeological reference - the 'Ġgantija Phase' (c. 3000-2200 BC) is one of the most important periods of the Maltese Bronze Age. The complex structure of the cultural group of Ġgantija, the excellent state of preservation of its materials - hard chalky coralline and the softer globigerina limestone - make it an excellent testament of megalithic prehistoric art.

Ħagar Qim and Mnajdra, although in the same tradition as the Ġgantija temples, are in no way duplicates of them. Each of these complexes is the result of a separate individual development, differing greatly in plan and articulation, as well as in constructional techniques, from Ġgantija and from each other. Both illustrate full mastery of the use of globigerina limestone for orthostats and for the regular courses of corbelling above in the interiors, in contrast to the rough boulders used in Ġgantija South. Each complex has to be ranked as a unique architectural masterpiece which would be immensely impressive at any date, given the very limited resources of the builders, but is quite staggering when taken with the extraordinarily early dates now attributed to them.

The same considerations hold for the Tarxien complex, except that it is considerably less well preserved than the others. It too is the product of individual development and displays some architectural features not found elsewhere. It is also unique in the wealth of elaborate carved ornament found there (although all this has unfortunately had to be removed from the site for protection), and the lower half of an extraordinary colossal stone figure. Another point is that because it is the only one of the monuments of this scale that has been regularly excavated and reported on, much more is known about what kind of use was made of it than of the others. The elaborate rituals to which the temples are testimony are a very remarkable manifestation of the human spirit, especially on a remote island at such an early date.

Ta' Ħaġrat offers the best preserved example of a temple with the early trefoil plan, plus the poorly preserved remains of what is assumed to be the earliest type of all. The former, although on a much smaller scale than the above monuments, would be considered remarkable for its date if they were not available for comparison. Its chief importance is as evidence of the development of the tradition, rather than in its own right, and this applies even more so, of course, to the smaller and earlier unit.

Both Ta' Ħaġrat and Skorba are significant mainly in terms of the information they provide about the development of the temple tradition in Malta. They are both essential to the proper understanding of the great masterpieces.

Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC
Notes
  • The Committee decided to extend the existing cultural property, the "Temple of Ggantija", to include the five prehistoric temples situated on the islands of Malta and Gozo and to rename the property as "The Megalithic Temples of Malta".