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“Hypogeum in Tarxien” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Hal Saflieni Hypogeum

Hal Saflieni Hypogeum
Burial Street, Paola, Island of Malta PLA 03, Malta
+356 2180 5018
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Ranked #1 of 2 things to do in Paola
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Owner description: The Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum is an underground prehistoric burial site, a complex made up of interconnecting rock-cut chambers set on three distinct levels. Earliest remains at the site date back to about 4000BC, and the complex was used over a span of many centuries, up to c. 2500 BC. The Hypogeum was first opened to the public in 1908. Due to its uniqueness, the site became very popular with visitors. Unfortunately, this had a negative impact on the delicate microclimate of the site. For this reason, a conservation project was conducted that also included the closure of the site for 10 years between 1990 and 2000. As a result of these studies, a new visiting system was established. Nowadays, only 10 visitors an hour are now allowed inside the Hypogeum for a maximum of 8 tours a day. This system is also complemented by an environmental control system which keeps temperature and humidity at required levels.Tickets for the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum should be bought well ahead of the chosen visiting date since tours are often fully booked weeks in advance.For more information visit Heritage Malta's website.
Toronto, Canada
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Hypogeum in Tarxien”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 5, 2014

The Hypogeum in Tarxien is an underground burial site that was used in prehistoric times and contemporary with the Maltese megalithic temples dotted around the island. Tickets are available in advance only and are available at the Hypogeum and the National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta.

Tarxien temples were discovered in 1914 by local farmers who struck large stone blocks while ploughing a field. Their discovery was reported to Sir Temistocles Zammit, Malta’s first director of museums, who excavated the site in 1915-17. His pioneering work was to put an understanding of Maltese prehistory and its chronology on a solid scientific basis.

This unique group of temples, dating from 3150 to 2500 BC, are the most complex of all temples in Malta. They comprise four temple units linked by a square court. They were the last to be built on the Islands. Their skilful construction and the elaborate design and workmanship suggest that the temple builders had gained considerable expertise over the millennia since the first phase of megalithic construction. The temples are renowned for the detail of their carvings, which include stone idols, domestic animals carved in relief, and altars and screens decorated with spiral designs and other patterns. Of particular note is the chamber set into a thick wall, which is famous for its reliefs of two bulls and a sow.

The site seems to have been used extensively for rituals, which probably involved animal sacrifice. Tarxien is also of great interest because it offers an insight into how the temples were constructed: stone rollers left outside the south temple were probably used for transporting the megaliths. Remains of cremation have also been found here, which indicates that the site was reused by later Bronze Age settlers.

Visited January 2014
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portishead
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44 reviews 44 reviews
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32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
“not your regular tourist attraction”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 29, 2014

Not being a neolithic history buff not sure what to expect – went here due to the weight of expectation from different guide books really. Not cheap for Malta either, but when you have done the whole thing do kind of get it, but would sympathise with some reviewers who may not have got the vibe.
As with many historical sites there is a tale to tell, the most fascinating part for me was how little we really understand about what these guys were doing even now, yet how incredible their achievement was.
Tickets and times strictly controlled – 10 per group which at times was too many – they could have managed us all better so everyone was able to see everything. Much of the place is kept in darkness to protect it and only illuminated when you pass that point, all had to keep together as the space is quite small. That said, was an experience not to be missed.
We had done the archeology museum before so got some understanding of the site and saw some of the artifacts – there is very little at the hypogeum itself so would recommend doing them both.
The best bit about the museum was the 100 objects exhibition. It wasn’t well advertised so didn’t go there to see that as such but was a great way to explain Malta’s history and to see some of the objects such as the George Cross and Valettes armoury was special

Visited April 2014
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London, United Kingdom
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“Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, Paola”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 27, 2014

The Hypogeum is a series of underground chambers dated around 2500 BC. Located in town of Paola. Booked up months ahead a few tickets can be obtained 24 hours in advance from the Nat. Museum of Archaeology and easily reached by bus. Not large but possibly unique it is a UNESCO site. No comments on the museum I'm afraid, only saw it briefly when I purchased the tickets.

Visited April 2014
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North East
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7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“World Class Heritage Site but for the price expect a World Class attitude from all involved.”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 16, 2014

No doubting the importance and impressiveness of the site, it is fabulous! However it is around the edges the experience is very much less than world class. For the price and 1 hour access to the sight you would expect to be blown away.

The staff were inattentive, especially when asked to arrive 15 minutes before hand and the lobby uninspiring with no access to information to occupy anyone for 1 minute let alone 15 minutes. And then there are the toilet facilities and these are absolutely shocking. I can only hope the care for the Hypogeum site itself is preserved in an infinitely improved manner. Please improve up your attitudes and make this a World Class site for your World Class visitors.

Visited April 2014
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Paola, Malta
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“A visit to the past”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 16, 2014

Recently I had some friends over from the UK and together we visited the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum Temples. this was a truly amazing experience. The trip takes you back thousands of years into the way people lived here - when Malta was not even an island!

I highly recommend a visit to these underground temples. However, book early as the number of visitors allowed at any one time is very limited due t the Carbon Dioxide emitted by visitors which damages the building. Worth the money spent!!

Visited March 2014
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