Summer Solstice – Special Guided Tour at Hagar Qim and Mnajdra Temples

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Summer Solstice
Heritage Malta is once again organising guided tours of the Hagar Qim and Mnajdra Temples on the 21st June to mark the summer solstice.

The unique setting of the Mnajdra and Hagar Qim 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.

In a bid to provide an enhanced experience to visitors, only 50 people will be allowed access to the two temples during this special guided tours forty at Mnajdra and ten at Hagar Qim.

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 the 21st June during the summer solstice the first rays of the sun light up the edge of a megalith found to the left of the central doorway connecting the first pair of chamber to the inner chamber of the Lower Mnajdra Temple. At the same time at Hagar Qim sunlight passes through a hole known as he oracle hole which opens onto a chamber on the northeast side of the structure. Here the sun’s rays project a disk of light onto a stone slab at the entrance to the apse. As the minutes pass the disc becomes a crescent, then elongates into an elipse, then elongates still further and finally sinks out of sight as though into the ground.

A limited number of tickets for each tour are available selling for Euro 11.65 for the general public and Euros 5.83 for Heritage Malta members and are strictly on a first come first served basis. Interested parties may purchase their tickets from any Heritage Malta site including the Head Office – Old University Buildings, Merchants Street, Valletta by not later than Friday 13th June 2008. Please call on 22954000 for any queries.

These tours have been made possible despite the ongoing works at Hagar Qim and Mnajdra Temples in conjunction with the installation of the two temporary shelters at the sites.

The guided tours start at around 05.30 a.m. from the main gate of the Hagar Qim Temple

For further information on activities organised by Heritage Malta please visit their web site at http://www.heritagemalta.org.

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