malt It is an island in the Mediterranean with more than 7,000 years of history. The Phoenicians, the Romans, Napoleon and the British Empire passed through its lands. It also maintained a link with Spain, as the Crown of Aragon and the Order of Saint John also left their mark. It is a country with a rich historical legacy and enjoys having the “only example of an underground labyrinth, dating from between 4000 and 2500 BC according to UNESCO.

Just over six kilometers from Valletta, the capital of Malta, is located a World Heritage architectural jewel, an essential visit to the Mediterranean country. He Hal Saflieni Hypogeum It is a prehistoric underground temple, whose main function was to sanctuarybut was later converted into necropolis.

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A labyrinthine temple

The Hal Saflieni site is a hypogeum, an underground vault with one or more burial chambers which was used in ancient times. This underground construction has an area of ​​500 square meters distributed over three levels.

Entrance to the upper level of the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum in Malta.
Entrance to the upper level of the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum in Malta.

The temple was discovered accidentally due to a construction of houses in 1902 that affected the first level of the archaeological complex, according to Heritage Malta, the national portal in charge of Malta’s cultural heritage and preservation.

The funerary complex is made up several cameras. The best known is Sancta Santorum, where the grain was stored. This is surrounded by three trilithons, that is, constructions formed by two large vertical stones that support a third horizontal one above.

Paintings from the Oracle Room of the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, Malta.
Paintings from the Oracle Room of the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, Malta.

Another of the most striking rooms is the Decorated Rooma large circular space with inclined walls where the Snake Pit. In this hole, about two meters deep, it is believed that snakes or alms were kept.

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The “Sleeping Lady” of Malta

Among bones and more found objects, a small female figure of just 12 centimeters was dusted off. It’s about the Sleeping Lady, a tiny statuette of a reclining woman sleeping peacefully. She now she rests in the Malta National Museum of Archeologywhich we can visit for a fee of 5 euros (adult admission).

Figurine of the sleeping lady (
Figurine of the sleeping lady from Malta.

How to visit the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum

The Malta Hypogeum is located in the town of Paola, about 15 minutes by car from Valletta. To visit it you must book in advance, since it only admits 80 visitors a day and the waiting list can reach one or three months. The price of the entrance is €35 for people over 18 years old, for teenagers from 12 to 17 it is €20, children from 6 to 11 pay €15 and children under 5 years old are not admitted.

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