A megalithic temple complex from the neolithic era. Part of the Maltese archipelago in the Mediterranean sea. Pronounced “jig-gan-tee-ya”. Maltese pronunciation: [dʒɡanˈtiːja], or “Giantess”. Is a UNESCO World Heritage site. From around 3600–2500 BC, on the island of Gozo. The temples are constructed from massive limestone megaliths, some of which weigh several tons. The size of the stone reflects the name.
Older than many
Makers erected the two Ġgantija temples during the neolithic period. Making these temples the world’s second oldest existing man made religious structures. After Göbekli Tepe in present-day Turkey. More than 5500 years ago.The two main temples, known as the north and south. Probably begin as separate structures, but share a common boundary wall. And, are both oriented toward the southeast. Like the other temples found in Malta
Inside the temples, there are altars and stone benches. Suggesting religious or ceremonial activities took place. Due to the figurines and statues that have been discovered at the site. Many claim the group here. Was a part of a fertility cult.
In the south, the temples rise to a height of 6 m (almost 20 ft)
When you enter. Its captivating. There is a large stone block. Leading to the hypothesis there was a purification system of ritual before entry. Due to the number of alters, animal bones, and evidence from the bible. It is believe the space was also used for animal sacrifices.
Builders and scientists have said that the enormous limestone blocks. May have been transported uses round stones. And, brought nearby to build the two temples.
The structures walls are constructed with cyclopean masonry
They are made form large irregularly shaped stones. Fitted together without masonry. The southern temple. Is larger and older. It is also better preserved.
Encompassed in the great amounts of work. Both areas are built in somewhat clover leaf shapes. The center wall is filled with rubble. The connecting passages were believed to once be covered with roofing.
Ownership is the Government of Malta
Different tourist groups; hunters, archaeologists; artists; participants in the ‘goddess’ movement; and, others offer tours here.
The site was privately owned until 1933, and did not have proper excavations
The exact purpose remains a subject of debate. Generally believed to have served as religious or ceremonial sites, possibly associated with fertility rites. The presence of statues and figurines suggests a connection to prehistoric rituals and beliefs. Residents and travelers knew about the existence of the temple for a long time. In 1827 Col. John Otto Bayer, the Lieutenant Governor, had the site cleared of debris. Many of the soil and remains were lost to scientists, or without documented examination. More recently, the area has been consistently updated for tourists. Including the 2000s and 2011 when a walkway was added to the floor.
The Ġgantija Temples are an important cultural and historical treasure. They provide valuable insights into the neolithic period and the megalithic traditions of ancient Malta. Including architectural, engineering and survival skills. The temples are important not only for their age but also for their role in understanding the social and religious practices of prehistoric people in the Mediterranean region. They are a popular tourist attraction and an integral part of Malta’s rich archaeological heritage.
De Soldanis, Gozo, Ancient and Modern, Religious and Profane, Book I, pp. 86–88
Żammit, Mayrhofer, The Prehistoric Temples of Malta and Gozo, p. 155
Trump, Malta: An Archaeological Guide, p. 156