Ggantija Travel Guide

  • Ggantija
    by BlueLlama
  • Ggantija
    by BlueLlama
  • Ggantija
    by BlueLlama

Ggantija Things to Do

  • ggantija and other temples

    Defenatly have look at at ggantija when you have the chance! Amazing temple, even older than Stonehnge!Have a look at this website I found for more photo's and info on ggantija and other neolithic temples in Gozo and Malta.

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  • The North cave

    Across the road to the north, a natural cave was discovered in 1949.It is supposed that the cave was originally a rock-cut tomb, but it might also have served as temple refuse.Inside a great quantity of broken pottery of the Tarxien phase, but also fragments of a human skull and some animal bones have been found.

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  • Discoveries in the temples

    Pottery, vases and statuettes (two carved heads and a snake in relief) found during the 1827 excavations are now displayed in the Gozo Museum of Archaeology.

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  • Rituals in the temples

    Many of the signs left in the temples suggest that rituals of life and fertility have been practiced here.It is said that the huge stone block which can be seen at the entrance in the southern temple was used for animal purification rituals before entering the temple.The inner rooms of the temple were used by the priests, while the others would...

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  • The round stones

    At the entrance of the southern temple, small, spherical stones, discovered in the temples, are displayed.It is believed that these were used as ball bearings to transport the enormous stone blocks required for the temples' construction.

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  • Wall holes

    Round holes can be seen both in the walls and in the paving slabs, especially in the southern temple.Those in the paving slabs were made in order to allow liquid offerings to pass through to the underworld. Those in the walls were made in order to hold screens or bars to close off access.

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  • The altars

    In both temples, the inner apses present niches with rudimentary altars.The altars have trilithon form or are solid cubic blocks and originally may have been decorated with relief spirals.

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  • The walls

    As the boundary wall, the temples walls are not less impressive: the largest megaliths are round six by four meters.The internal walls were made of coralline limestone rubble, covered in plaster.The form of the walls suggests that the whole structure was once roofed.

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  • Temples doorway

    Both temples have a single and central doorway.The door opens into the corridor that is connecting the apses and is made of huge blocks of stone

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  • The second temple

    The second temple, smaller, was built later and doesn't present as many features as the southern one.The building technique is suggesting that the temple was roofed.

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  • The southern temple

    The first temple of the two, the southern one, is larger, older and more extensive. Rising at a height of six meters, the five apses of the temple contain also numerous altars, relief carvings and wall holes.Recent calculations have suggested that the south temple would have taken some 15 000 man/days to construct!

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  • The boundary wall

    The boundary wall is the most remarkable feature of the complex.Some of the blocks have even five meters in length and weight over fifty tons.It seems that the wall was built using the alternating header and stretcher technique.

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  • The two temples

    The two cloverleaf-shaped temples are sharing the same facade. Each of them was built as a series of semi-circular apses connected with a hall in the center.According to the archaeologists, the apses were originally covered by masonry domes.

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  • Ggantija megalithic complex

    Excavated between 1816 and 1820, the complex comprises two Neolithic temples dating from the third millennium BC (3600 to 3000 BC). The temples are built with rough, coralline limestone blocks and contain five apses connected by a central corridor.The stone slabs weigh several tons and the outside walls are up to six meters high and this is really...

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  • Ggantija Temple Site

    The site is quite attractively landscaped with palms and shrubs and one or two boards showing a ground plan of the site. From the grounds you can take a look out across the southern plains of Gozo (see next tip) and from here you can also walk into the town of Xaghra, which is a lovely town with some other attractions of its own (see Xaghra page).

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  • Ggantija Temples

    There's little to help you with interpretation, a point that is made in my guide book and then it itself does little to to help you with interpretation, though it does offer a little description of the two temples (north and south). The best you can do is look and marvel at it, though even this would be better achieved from some aerial viewpoint...

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  • Ggantija Temples

    The guide book describes these temples as being "colossal" but to be honest if they really meant "huge" then I would be disappointed. They're by no means huge (not like the Pyramids), though despite this they are mightily impressive. They are the oldest man-made structures in the world, dating from 3600BC and their discovery has given a great deal...

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  • Views Across Gozo

    You get great views from the temple site out across the southern plains of Gozo and on to the coast beyond. Most prominent is the church in the town of Xewkija. This church is simply immense, see how it towers over the town and notice its size compared to the "normal"! church in the bottom left of the picture, which is some 2km nearer! See the...

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Ggantija Transportation

  • Diana75's Profile Photo

    by Diana75 Written Oct 12, 2006

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    The two temples of Ggantija are erected side by side on the Xaghra plateau, on Gozo Island.

    The site can be reached either by car or by bus (no. 64 and 65).

    Ggantija directions Arriving to Ggantija
    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • Road Trip
    • Archeology

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Ggantija Shopping

  • Fresh fruits, honey and home made syrup

    Gozo's honey is also renowned and the ones that want to bring something specific back home can buy thyme honey or Carob syrup from the peddlers displaying their products near the temples.Another tasty attraction is the prickly pear, the fruit of the cactus plant, which for a couple of liras can be also bought from these sellers.

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  • Souvenirs

    The site of the temples is not as rich in souvenirs shops as others in Malta.Some small shops selling lace and other small things can be found at the entrance, while near the ticket office is another small shop selling soft drinks, post cards, books and other small souvenirs.

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Ggantija Local Customs

  • Diana75's Profile Photo

    by Diana75 Written Oct 13, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    All over the Maltese islands, many mysterious temples were built thousands of years ago.

    The plans of the Maltese Neolithic temples are based on a forecourt in front of a concave facade, a trilithon doorway leading to a central paved corridor from which semicircular rooms open on both sides.

    Made using huge stone blocks in a period when no metal tools existed, the temples surprisingly survived until today when their gigantic structures can be still visited in Ggantija, Hagar Qim, Mnajdra, Tarxien and the underground Hypogeum at Hal Saflieni.

    Built in the honor of the Mother-Goddess of fertility, the temples seem to be the result of a superhuman effort.

    Ggantija temples
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Religious Travel
    • Archeology

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Ggantija Off The Beaten Path

  • Diana75's Profile Photo

    by Diana75 Written Oct 13, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    From the temples plateau, there is a magnificent view of the surroundings up to the lovely village of Xewkija, the oldest in Gozo, situated between Ghajnsielem and the capital town, Victoria.

    Xewkija's distinctive landmark is the awesome Rotunda, the parish church dedicated to St. John the Baptist.

    Xewkija's Rotunda view from Ggantija Xewkija's Rotunda view from Ggantija
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Religious Travel
    • Architecture

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Ggantija Favorites

  • Information board

    For the visitors that don't have a guide book and know nothing about Ggantija, on the site there is a board written in English and Maltese supplying some information about the temples, the history and features.

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  • Ggantija's legend

    In Maltese, Ggantija means "belonging to the giants".A local legend is saying that a giant called Sansuna carried the stones to build the temples on her head from a site located far way.And it seems that the work of the giant was so good that the temples survived extraordinarily well and the walls in places still stand to a height of 7 meters.

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  • Ggantija Temples – Unesco World Heritage...

    Ggantija became the first of the Maltese megalithic temples to be inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1980.

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