Ta' Ħaġrat Temples

Coordinates: 35°55′07″N 14°22′07″E / 35.9185°N 14.3686°E / 35.9185; 14.3686
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Ta' Ħaġrat
Ta' Ħaġrat
Ta' Ħaġrat Temples is located in Malta
Ta' Ħaġrat Temples
Location within Malta
LocationMġarr, Malta
Coordinates35°55′07″N 14°22′07″E / 35.9185°N 14.3686°E / 35.9185; 14.3686
Foundedc.3600 BC–c.3200 BC
PeriodsĠgantija phase
Saflieni phase
Site notes
Excavation dates1923–1961
ArchaeologistsThemistocles Zammit
John Davies Evans
David H. Trump
OwnershipGovernment of Malta
ManagementHeritage Malta
Public accessYes
WebsiteHeritage Malta
Part ofMegalithic Temples of Malta
CriteriaCultural: (iv)
Inscription1980 (4th Session)
Extensions1992, 2015
Area0.154 ha (16,600 sq ft)

The Ta' Ħaġrat ([taˈħad͡ʒrat]) temples in Mġarr, Malta are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with several other Megalithic temples.[1] They are amongst the world's oldest religious sites.[2] The larger Ta' Ħaġrat temple dates from the Ġgantija phase (3600–3200 BC);[3] the smaller is dated to the Saflieni phase (3300–3000 BC).[3]


Ta' Ħaġrat is on the eastern outskirts of the village of Mġarr, roughly one kilometer from the Ta' Skorba temples.[4] Characteristics of the Ta' Ħaġrat façade resemble those in the Ta' Skorba complex.[3]

Temple complex[edit]

The excavation of pottery deposits show that a village stood on the site and predates the temples themselves. This early pottery is dated to the Mġarr phase (3800-3600 BC).[5]

Ta' Ħaġrat is built out of lower coralline limestone, the oldest exposed rock in the Maltese Islands.[6] The complex contains two adjacent temples.[3] The smaller temple abuts the major one on the northern side.

The two parts are less regularly planned and smaller in size than many of the other neolithic temples in Malta.[7] Unlike other megalithic temples in Malta no decorated blocks were discovered; however a number of artifacts were found. Perhaps most intriguing is a scale model of a temple,[8] sculpted in globigerina limestone.

A sculptured temple discovered at Ta' Ħaġrat

The model is roofed and shows the typical structure of a Maltese temple including a trilithon façade, narrow-broad walling technique and upper layers of horizontal corbelling.[9]

Major temple[edit]

The Ġgantija phase temple is typically trefoil, with a concave façade opening onto a spacious semicircular forecourt. The façade contains a monumental doorway in the center and a bench at its base.[4] Two steps lead up to the main entrance and a corridor flanked by upright megaliths of coralline limestone.[3]

Plan of the Ta' Ħaġrat complex. Legend: (A)Temple 3600-3300 BC, (B) Temple 3600-3300 BC, (1) Entrance 2d temple, (2) Abside of the oracle.

The corridor leads into a central torba (a cement-like material) court, radiating three semi-circular chambers. These were partially walled off at some time in the Saflieni phase;[10] pottery shards were recovered from the internal packing of this wall.[11] The apses are constructed with roughly-hewn stone walls and have a rock floor. Corbelling visible on the walls of the apses suggest that the temple was roofed.[3]

A small sculptured temple was discovered here, which is a little model is carved from globigerina limestone and was discovered in 1923.[8]

Minor temple[edit]

The Saflieni phase temple rests to the north and is six and a half meters long. It is entered through the eastern apse of the larger temple. Smaller stones have been used in its construction[7] and it exhibits irregularities in design considered archaic or provincial.[12]


The site was excavated between 1923 and 1926 by Sir Temi Zammit, then Director of Museums. The site was again excavated by John Davies Evans in 1954, and British archaeologist David H. Trump accurately dated the complex in the 1961 excavation.[3]

The temple was included on the Antiquities List of 1925.[13]


Parts of the façade and doorway were reconstructed in 1937.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Megalithic Temples of Malta - UNESCO World Heritage Centre". Whc.unesco.org. Retrieved 12 September 2010.
  2. ^ "Malta Temples and The OTS Foundation". Otsf.org. Retrieved 12 September 2010.[not specific enough to verify]
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Heritage Malta". Archived from the original on 2 October 2008. Retrieved 2 October 2008.
  4. ^ a b Trump, Cilia. "Malta Prehistory and Temples": 154. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. ^ Trump, Cilia. "Malta Prehistory and Temples": 155. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. ^ "Geology". Semide-mt.org. Archived from the original on 20 February 2012. Retrieved 12 September 2010.
  7. ^ a b Żammit, Mayrhofer. "The Prehistoric Temples of Malta and Gozo": 142. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  8. ^ a b "Ta Hagrat - Mgarr - Temple Model". Megalithics.com. Retrieved 12 September 2010.
  9. ^ Zammit T., "Ta Hagrat Megalithic Ruins at Mgarr, Malta" Bulletin of the Museum, Malta, I, i, 5, 1929.
  10. ^ Trump. "Malta: An Archaeological Guide": 139. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  11. ^ Żammit, Mayrhofer. "The Prehistoric Temples of Malta and Gozo": 143. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  12. ^ Trump. "Malta: An Archaeological Guide": 140. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  13. ^ "Protection of Antiquities Regulations 21st November, 1932 Government Notice 402 of 1932, as Amended by Government Notices 127 of 1935 and 338 of 1939". Malta Environment and Planning Authority. Archived from the original on 19 April 2016.
  14. ^ The Megalithic Portal and Megalith Map. "Ta' Hagrat Ancient Temple : The Megalithic Portal and Megalith Map". Megalithic.co.uk. Retrieved 12 September 2010.

External links[edit]