The spring equinox at Mnajdra Temples takes place this year on Sunday 20 and Monday 21 March and Heritage Malta is once again giving guided tours and early-bird rights of access to a lucky 40 people only, so as ‘to enhance the visitor experience’. May be, just may be this year, I’ll manage to get out of bed (at around 04.45) to get there in time – I am a bare 10 minutes’ drive away. If you want to go, book quickly (see below) so you won’t miss the magic unfold as of the first shafts of the summer season’s sunrise enter the temple’s inner sanctum.
If you’re at all into prehistory, mysticism or ancient cults or just fancy a more unearthly start to your week, then it’s worth the effort. But act soon, as expect tickets to be snapped up quickly.
A bit of background from the experts
The unique setting of the Mnajdra Temples at Qrendi, overlooking the coast, gives them a special charm not to be found in any other of the large-scale megalithic buildings of the Maltese Islands, many of which lie in more urban areas or inland.
Sunrise on the first day of each season underlines the relationship between the temples and celestial bodies. Although it is not known for certain whether these orientations were intentional, they are so systematic that this is very probable. In prehistoric agricultural societies, observation of the motion of the stars, the moon and sun could have been related to the changing seasons and times of planting and harvesting crops.
On these Equinox days, the first rays of the sun light up the edge of a megalith found to the right of the central doorway connecting the first pair of chamber to the inner chamber of the Lower Mnajdra Temple.
Event Tickets & Further Info
Tickets are €15 for the general public and €10 for Heritage Malta and ICOM members and are strictly on a first-come-first-served basis. You can buy tickets from any Heritage Malta site or museum as well as the Heritage Malta head office, Old University Buildings, Merchants Street, Valletta. Tel: +356 22954000. On the mornings, participants meet point at 05.15 at the Ħagar Qim main entrance.
For further information, see also the Heritage Malta website.