The Mediterranean island of Malta is steeped in myths, folklore and legends. Not surprising, considering this tiny island has been populated for over 8,000 years. The remnants of gigantic, monolithic structures are to be found all across Malta and its sister island of Gozo.
The Neolithic complexes in the south of the island; theTarxien Temples, Hagar Qim and Mnajdra and in Gozo, Ġgantija, are a must-see for the one million tourists who flock to the islands each year but none is more popular or raises more unanswered questions than the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum. An underground, necropolis complex, discovered on a hill overlooking the innermost part of the Grand Habour of Valletta, in the town of Paola. It is a unique prehistoric monument, of outstanding, universal value and one of Malta’s several, UNESCO, World Heritage sites.
In 1902 construction workers stumbled across what appeared to be an ancient, underground, sanctuary complex. Archaeologists subsequently uncovered one of the most impressive and puzzling megalithic structures in the world, dating back, it is estimated, more than 5000 years.
This incredible site, consisting of three subterranean levels of tombs, chambers and rooms of unknown function are gargantuan in size and proportion. During excavation, chambers packed with over 7000 skeletal remains dating to 2500BC were revealed.
Several of the skeletons had unique characteristics – elongated skulls.