Thursday, 30 May 2013

Malta - Historic Sites, Day 9, May 29th

This was another early morning to catch the bus to Paola where we had tickets to tour the Hal Salieni Hypogeum.  We hiked to the bus terminal and found how easy it was to catch a bus.  It cost us 2.60 Euros each for a one day pass, a bargain.  We arrived in lots of time so we were able to first visit the Tarxien Temples, a short walk away.  They were built around 3600BC with additions added from 3000BC to 2500BC.  The site was mind blowing.  We then walked to the Hypogeum (underground cavity) for our 11am one-hour tour, which we booked online two months ago. Tours are sold out until July 1st.  The site is very sensitive to carbon dioxide so only 80 people are allowed through each day in 8 groups of 10. The site was discovered in 1902 when the house owner was building a cistern.  The complex is grouped in three levels: first level (3600-3300BC), the middle level (3300BC-3000BC), and the lower level (3000BC-2400BC) which was 10.6 meters below ground.  The upper level had a hall and burial chambers, the middle level had the main hall and was carved to imitate the inside of above-ground temples, while the lower chambers were used to deposit burial remains.  In 1000 years, seven thousand people were buried here.  It was an amazing site, especially when you consider that the tools used to carve out these rooms were made of stone, flint and antlers.  
                                                                Tarxien Temples

                                  A farmer complained about hitting bog rocks in his field in 1913

                                                      Their tools were rock and flint

                                                              Precision fit, wow!

                         This doorway, sides and bottom are cut from one piece. Set phasers on cut.

                                How could they have lifted these huge one piece rocks in 3600BC?

                                                                          An alter

                                                        Decorated burial box for ashes
                               How could they cut rocks so straight 5,000 years ago? Ancient aliens?

                                                         Rooms in the Hypogeum

                      A room in the Hypogeum made to look like the inside of an above ground temple

                                                       Another room in the hypogeum

                                                    The head of a rock sledge hammer

                                       A two-man tool and below how it would have been used

141 steps in Valletta

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