The World Heritage of Malta
According to UNESCO in 1980, 3 historical sites in Malta are listed under the world heritage. These include Valletta, The Hal Saflieni Hypogeum and the Megalithic Temples.
Named after Grandmaster Jean Parisot de la Valette, the Hero of the Great Siege in 1565, Valletta was purposely built as the new capital to take over from Mdina. Valletta, is a fortified city with an abundance of monuments and historic buildings which date back to the history of the Order of St John of Jerusalem, often considered one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world known for its famous Baroque buildings, and excellent architecture such as St John’s Co-Cathedral and the Grand Master’s Palace. The city was listed under the World Heritage (UNESCO list) in 1980.
The Hal Saflieni Hypogeum was discovered during construction works back in 1902. Dating from around 3600 to 2400 B.C, this excavated, underground structure contains plenty of rooms which served the purpose of being used as sanctuaries and burial purposes. Nowadays, The Hypogeum is considered one of the most vital prehistoric monuments in the world.
Megalithic Temples- There are seven main Neolithic temples in Malta and Gozo, collectively known as one World Heritage Site. Built between the 4th and 3rd millennium BC, these prehistoric monumental sites are said to be older than the Pyramids of Egypt and the Stonehenge.
Located in Gozo, the Ggantija temples (meaning ‘giant’) are the oldest of the seven and date back to around 3600-3200 BC followed by Hagar Qim , Tarxien and Mnajdra whilst with Hagrat, Skorba and Kordin III were built at a later stage.
These sites were among the first buildings created using free rock, particularly coralline rock and globigerina limestone. Each site is a unique architectural masterpiece reflecting prehistoric culture, and artistic craftsmanship.
In 1992, UNESCO extended the boundaries under the name "Ggantija Temple", to further include the other prehistoric temples located in Malta and Gozo and hence, renamed the site "The Megalithic Temples".