Ggantija Temple, Gozo
The Ggantija Temples - meaning place of giants - are thought to be the oldest free-standing structures in the world. They are among the best-preserved temples on the Maltese Islands. The two Neolithic temples here date from the third millennium B.C (3600 to 3000 B.C.). They are open all year round but the day we visited the south temples were closed off for necessary conservation work though. There is a small admission to enter the site properly and not to just view its exterior walls.
On the south edge of the town of Xaghra are the remains of a temple complex called Ggantija. It consists of 2 joint buildings, the larger one being the older. Research revealed that construction must have started around 3600 BC, which makes it significantly older then for example the Egyptian pyramids or Stonehenge! The structure must have been a major Neolithic effort as the individual rocks used are truly 'gigantic'.
In Ggantija as well as in similar Maltese temples remains have been found of statues of 'Fat Ladies'. Probably the temples were dedicated to 'Mother Nature' or 'Mother Earth'.
Although I have not visited Ggantija in a while, I still think this place is definitely worth a visit. The Ggantija temples (the word Grantija deriving from the word 'ggant' that means giant) are the oldest free standing structure in the world - so you can imagine how proud the Gozitans are of this ancestral feat. They are dated between the 4100 and 2500 BC (wow!)
Though local legend says that the huge megaliths were transported to the site by a giantess called Sansuna it is highly porobable that stone balls were used as rollers to transport the enormous blocks. These stone balls can still be seen strewn around the site and at the Museum of Archaeology in Victoria.
Just outside the Ggantija Temples complex you will find local craft stalls selling honey and woollen ponchos and cardigans etc..
Thre was also this cave which had some connection with the teemple - but there wasn't much to see here really, although Dave jumped down into it to check it out!.
According to the Guiness Book this Temple is the Oldest Free-standing structure in the world.
Built between 3600 and 3000 BC (that is ca. 1000 years before the Pyramids in Gizeh).
The name Ggantija is because early historians in the 16th century thought that they were the homes of Maltas first settlers, a mythical race of giants.
One of Xaghra's more touristic attractions (and possibly most people's only reason for visiting) is the Ggantija Temples. These are on the edge of the town and are the oldest surviving man made structures in the world. It is estimated that they date from 3600BC. It doesn't take long to look around them, and in fact it's difficult to get a view that really shows them off - you need to see them from an elevated position - but it's a really worthwhile trip.
You can buy an entrance ticket that also gets you into the Ta' Kola Windmill neaby.
Ggantija Temples in Xaghra, Gozo, are one of the most important archaeological sites in Malta. The origins of Ggantija date back to the Ggantija phase (3600 – 3200 B.C.). The Ggantija megalithic complex consists of two temples surrounded by a massive common boundary wall. One of the most striking features of the entire complex, the boundary wall, is built using the alternating header and stretcher technique, with some of the megaliths exceeding five metres in length and weighing over fifty tons.
The temples at Ggantija are built with rough, coralline limestone blocks. Each temple contains five apses connected by a central corridor leading to the innermost trefoil section. The first temple is larger and contains a variety of features such as altars, and relief carvings . . Also of interest is the corbelling technique evident on the inwardly inclined walls, suggesting that the temple was roofed.
The Megalithic Temples of Ggantija date from around 3600 BC and are even older than the pyramids of Egypt. It's situated on a hill with a great view on the landscape and actually consists of two temples. It was good that we had a guide as otherwise it would have been hard to recognize all the different things, like the relief spirals on some blocks, the altars or the oracle stone.
Also impressing is the well-preserved outer wall, with its big megaliths that have several tons of weight. It's unbelievable that the people in those days were able to move these big rocks!
Open daily from 9:00 to 17:000. Admission 1,50 LM (adults).
The Maltese islands are famous for the prehistoric temples found in various places. On the main island of Malta, you may be able to visit places such as the Hypogeum (plan this well in advance) and the Tarxian complex. Gozo has as site that contains the oldest known temples in the entire world--Ggantija. They are believed to date back to the 3000BC range and are older than the pyramids in Egypt. To me, that was a good enough reason to make sure there was a chance to get a look at one of these temples. This freestanding stone structure still has remarkable detail considering how old it is. You will see doorways, altar areas, different chambers, and holes that were made in the rocks that make up the temple complex. The setting on high ground is also nice. There is a great deal to learn about the people that once lived here. Some people may want to buy some of the good literature that is for sale at the entrance gate. The price of admission was not too high, and it appears that efforts are being made to keep the temples in good shape for future generations to come.
The Ggantija Temples (place of giants) are thought to be the oldest free-standing structures in the world. They are among the best-preserved temples on the Maltese Islands. They are certainly the most visited historical site on the Maltese Islands. Excavated between 1816 and 1820, the complex comprises two Neolithic temples dating from the third millennium B.C (3600 to 3000 B.C.). The temples are made up of two separate units enclosed by a wall and sharing a common facade. The concave walls of the temples suggest that the whole structure was once roofed. In both temples, the inner apses have niches with rudimentary altars. The outer temple walls are impressive: the largest megaliths are round six by four metres and the wall may once have stood at a height of 16 metres. Traces of mortar indicate the temples were once plastered over. The large forecourt suggests that congregations would have gathered outside to attend rituals, while the inner rooms of the temple may have been reserved for the shaman or priest. During the 1827 excavations, pottery, vases and statuettes were unearthed. These are now displayed in the archaeology museums in Victoria and Valletta.
On Gozo, you also find a Neolithic temple complex of the old Maltese culture. An impressing and mysterious sight! If you can fade out the hordes of tourists. But it’s quite easy to avoid them: just look at the timetable for the ferries arriving from Malta, add about 45min, and then go there. Many tourist from Malta visit Gozo for one day with an organised bus-tour, and for them it is the first stop on Gozo. So when at one minutes there are ten groups crowding the place, the next minute they are all gone.
The Ggantija/Ggantia Temples is a Neolithic, megalithic temple complex dated back to 3.600-2.500 B.C.
The temple of the Ggantija is one of the oldest free-standing stone buildings. It´s assumed to be built around 3600 BC - 3000 BC.