Category Archives: Malta

Time and the Tarxien Temples

Not far away from the Hypogeum of Ħal Saflien are the Tarxien temples. I loved the fact that the nearest bus stop is called “Neolitici”.

Bus stop sign showing Neolitici

The ancient bus-stop

When you get off the bus, you’re in the middle of a quietish Maltese street and it’s a bit mystifying.

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The Hypogeum of Ħal Saflien

Through the front door of what looks like an ordinary house, in a suburban street of terraced houses, lies the world’s only prehistoric underground temple (at least, the only one we know of).

The houses above the Hypogeum

Beneath these houses lies a necropolis

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The Sleeping Lady of Malta

In the Museum of Archaeology in Valletta, the capital city of Malta, is a darkened room. In it lies just one object: a small, brown clay figure of a woman asleep. She is lying on her side, nestling in the wooden framework of her bed and the rush mattress beneath her. She has been asleep for around five thousand years.

The Sleeping Lady figurine

She dreams before your eyes

The sleeper has her own hypnotic beauty; she is naked to the waist, although you can see that her bell-shaped skirt has traces of red ochre and a fringe where it covers her enormous rounded legs. Her arms — the right forearm curled underneath her head, the other draped across her breasts — are similarly lavish and lush. Why did someone make her? What was her purpose? What was she supposed to represent?

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