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Hal Saflieni Hypogeum
Ranked #1 of 9 things to do in Paola
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: PLEASE NOTE that this site is TEMPORARILY CLOSED. Tours of the site are therefore currently suspended. 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.
Reviewed September 30, 2013

It is impossible to describe this site - an underground temple to the dead, built over 5000 years ago, dating from older than 3000 years BC - what??!! Yes. The preservation of this site is remarkable. The tour is extremely well done - only 10 people allowed in per hour, an audio guide timed to the path that you are on, lights in the site that light up coinciding with the audio portion. A guide makes sure you pass through safely, but all information comes from the audio guide. I am still in a bit of a state of shock over it's age and how well it is preserved - very hard to wrap your head around something this ancient.

As by now you have read, you have to book your entry months in advance, though I understand you can sometimes get lucky with a booking. We were visiting Malta on a Celebrity cruise, and we wanted to be sure to see the Hypogeum, and since we only had one day available to us, we booked very far in advance so that we would be sure to get a booking at the time that we needed. Getting to the Hypogeum from the cruise port was a bit tricky, but everyone in Malta is so nice - we eventually found the bus terminus and were told that either bus 81 or 82 would get us close to the Hypogeum. Once on the bus, a very kind fellow passenger told us where we needed to get off, as the map we had wasn't all that clear - he saw our confusion, and initiated the conversation, asking us what we were trying to find - so nice of him!

Go to this site, and be amazed. And if you have time, definitely plan a trip to the National Museum of Archaeology and see in person the statue which is fondly called "Sleeping Lady" which was found in one of the grave sites in the Hypogeum, dating back to 3100BC. No one really knows what she is supposed to represent, her purpose, but it is so very exciting to think that a culture from 3000BC was creating art like this. We unfortunately were not able to go to the Museum, but I purchased a souvenir copy of the statue at a gift shop! She is so similar to modern sculptures done by Botero, one must imagine that he was influenced by her mysterious grace.

1  Thank lexmiller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 24, 2013

It's a 5 star site, worth the World Heritage Site listing. I just wonder how they could build such a place 5500 years ago. You HAVE to visit the Hypogeum if you are in Malta, whatever the purpose of your travel is.
Booking online is absolutely necessary, but if you find that it's fully booked once you have decided your dates there, you have a last chance: be the day before at 6 am at the Museum of Fine Arts in Valletta. We were there at 7am and there were people at the row already! We wanted two tickets, but when we arrived at the desk, only one was left. So, if you want to be sure you get the tickets, be there BEFORE 7AM.
One of the most impressive archaeological sites I've been to. The ticket is €25 but you won't regret.

1  Thank RomanetJC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 15, 2013

We did not book in advance and never waited on line for tickets. We casually asked at the archaeology museum in Valetta if there were last minute tickets for the Hypogeum. They phoned the Museum of Fine Arts, which is where the Hypogeum tickets are actually sold and were told there were two tickets left on the following day's 4PM tour.

An archaeology buff, I leapt at the chance in spite of the cost. I enjoyed the visit overall, but at €35 it is certainly overpriced. Perhaps cost is a barrier to help limit the demand for tickets, but a paywall seems an unfair way to achieve the objective.

2  Thank raincitysunshine
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 12, 2013

This site is unique, listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, needs an easy online reservation a couple of months in advance, through the heritage Malta website, expecially if you plan to go in high season. in a 45 minutes of guided visit, you'll step back at the 3.000 BC. It worth take few hours from your holiday and discovery this amazing place.

1  Thank Paolo T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 5, 2013

No way to get in in a week. If you live in valletta there is a chance to gather some tickets at the museum of fine arts, but you have to queue up at minimum 07 a. m. there. Better booking over internet and check the tour times. We didn't know that it is such an attraction and lived in the north so there was no way to get additional tickets.

Thank Degas61
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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