The New Stone Age period and its legacy on Gozo Island: Ggantija Temples
Ggantija located at Xaghra, Gozo are the oldest temples from the New Stone Age period on the Maltese islands. They were erected around 3600 B.C.
They are therefore the oldest freestanding man made structures in the world!
The temples of Ggantija were discovered in 1827 and since then, erosion has taken a heavy toll. Still these mysterious temples built by the ever captivating Prehistoric man remain an imposing sight.
The temples' megalithic walls are fascinating. The largest megalith is said to weigh 55 tonnes and is as large as a pick-up truck!
It’s no surprise then that considering that Prehistoric people did not have the tools and machinery that we have today, the Gozitans decided to call the temples Ggantija – meaning Giantess. Legend implies that the people who built Ggantija had to be giants in order to carry and lift such huge blocks of stone.
Who knows, maybe they were!
As you walk through these temples on Gozo island, you can’t help but feel how “advanced” these Prehistoric people were.
The complex consists of the North and South temples. The South temple has some impressive carvings such as a series of bowls immediately behind the entrance and spiral motifs. These shed a bit of light on the religious ceremonies that used to be held in the temples. Three altars in one of the chambers survive virtually intact!
If you want to catch a glimpse at what went on during the Neolithic period in Gozo, then Ggantija is definitely a must see. Just think ... if you visit these temples you will also get to say that you've visited the very oldest man made free standing structures on earth!
If you're planning on going to this site by bus, visit www.publictransport.com.mt to get more information on the best bus route to take depending on the location that you're departing from.
Ggantija temples are open daily from 9.00am to 5.00pm and entrance fee is Euro 3.50.