I’ve been meaning to make it to the summer solstice at Mnajdra Temples for the past two years. But, I just can’t manage to get out of bed (at around 04.30) to get there in time – and I am a bare 10 minutes’ drive away. I am just too comatose in the summer heat. So, perhaps I’ll fare better at seeing the first shafts of winter’s sunrise hit the temple’s inner sanctum. But, it’s pretty damp and chill in the air over night now and my duvet, not will power, might win. I’ve a month to mull it over though.
If you’re at all into prehistory, mysticism or ancient cults or just fancy a more unusual start to your Christmas week – well armed with a flask of hot coffee – then do try to make Heritage Malta’s guided tours of Mnajdra, Friday 21 December, meeting at Hagar Qim temple at 06.30 in front of the visitors’ centre.
But, you’ll have to be quick, numbers are limited in order to ‘enhance the visitor experience’.
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 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
Experience the Winter Solstice from Mnajdra Temples on the 21 December. Tickets can be purchased from all HM sites/museums for the price of €15 per person and €10 for HM members and will include a tour of Hagar Qim and Mnajdra Temples and access to the Visitor Centre. Meeting time is 6.30 at Hagar Qim Temples Visitors Centre. Limited places. For further information contact 21424231.
For further information, see the Heritage Malta website.