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Hypogeum

Listed under Tombs & Memorials in Malta.

  • Photo of Hypogeum
  • Photo of Hypogeum
  • Photo of Hypogeum
  • Photo of Hypogeum
  • Photo of Hypogeum
  • Photo of Hypogeum
  • Photo of Hypogeum
  • Photo of Hypogeum
Photo of Hypogeum
Photo by flickr user Boobooo
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Building temples into the ground sounds like hard work, which could be why this is the world’s only prehistoric underground temple. It could also be why this temple was later recycled, becoming a necropolis, but it’s thought it was originally a sanctuary.

Whoever built it began only a few metres below street level and built downwards as the first floor filled up, so the lower levels were a later addition, which could explain why the details of the middle level are more delicate. It’s just like a regular temple but built in the negative. The top level includes naturally formed caves that have been extended by workmen but the second level is mostly purpose dug so in more uniform circular and rectangular shapes. It also has more ornately decorated walls – swirls in red ochre were apparently very popular around 2750BC. There’s an even lover level but that was just the storage basement.

The most famous artefact discovered here is called ‘The Sleeping Lady’, a very rounded rendition of a larger lady resting on her side – she’s on display in the Museum of Archaeology.

It’s hard to get a ticket to have a look over the temple because they only allow about 80 people though a day, so book before you fly to Malta specifically to see it. If you get in you’ll see how serious they are about preserving it – everything is regulated, from the temperature to carbon dioxide levels.

Written by  World Reviewer Staff.

Other expert and press reviews

“Hal Saflieni Hypogeum”

'The Hypogeum is an enormous subterranean structure excavated c. 2500 B.C., using cyclopean rigging to lift huge blocks of coralline limestone. Perhaps originally a sanctuary, it became a necropolis in prehistoric times.' Copyright © UNESCO/World Herit… Read more...

Written by press. UNESCO

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