Monday, January 04, 2010

Prehistoric Malta…

Tarxien Temple in Malta (4) If there was a theme to our last day in Malta, it would be pre-historic and early Malta.

Sometime, 6000 years ago or so, some folks sailed from Sicily and set up shop on the small island. Eventually, they became fairly advanced and built some megalithic structures that surpass Stonehenge in size and show a fair amount of complexity and sophistication.

We visited the Hypogeum in Paola, Malta and then walked over to the Tarxien temple complex.

The Hypogeum is a subterranean crypt/worship area that had 3 levels and descends 30 feet below ground.

There are etchings and red ochre paintings on the wall, plus one room where a specific pitch of your voice creates a remarkable and powerful echo sound.

Image via WikipediaCoat of Arms of Mdina Local Council (Malta) ma...

We then moved over to Mdina, the ancient capital, which was set up by the Phoenicians, and subsequently conquered by the Romans, the Arabs, and the Knights of Malta.

One of its interesting features is how the streets/alleys were designed for defensive purposes.

They are short (about 8 meters in length), before twisting so that arrows up a head of steam (so to speak).

It’s called “the quiet city” and it is indeed that. Of course, we were there on a Sunday…which is taken pretty seriously in Malta (as is Siesta, but that’s another topic), but still…relative tranquility.

We also learned that Count Roger the Norman ripped his red-white checkered battle flag in half and gave it to the city when he conquered it…thus creating the red/white flag of Malta today (which since added the George Cross following WWII).

You can see some more pictures from the trip here, if you like.


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