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The Hypogeum.
Architecture in the negative.

04 May 2023 | Gattaldo

The Hypogeum in Malta is a fascinating underground temple complex that dates back to prehistoric times. Here are some interesting facts about this unique site.

Kane Kali

The Hypogeum.

Age and history:
The Hypogeum is believed to have been built around 3600 BC, making it one of the oldest known prehistoric sites in the world. It was rediscovered in 1902 and has since been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Size and structure:
The temple complex is carved out of solid limestone (architecture in the negative) and consists of three levels. The largest chamber, known as the "Main Chamber," measures 10.6 meters by 6 meters and is 5 meters high.

The Hypogeum is known for its exceptional acoustics, which are created by the unique design of the underground chambers. The sound waves are reflected and amplified, creating a unique resonance that has been described as both eerie and beautiful.

The Hypogeum contained a number of artefacts when it was discovered, including pottery, figurines, and bones. The most famous one is the Sleeping Lady (see picture), a sculpture of a woman lying on her side. The statuette is currently on display at the National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta.

Birgu History 3

The Sleeping Lady.

Limited access:
Due to the delicate nature of the site and the need to preserve its unique environment, only 80 visitors are allowed inside the Hypogeum each day. Visitors must book in advance, and photography is strictly prohibited.

Mysterious rituals:
The exact purpose of the Hypogeum and the rituals that took place there are still shrouded in mystery. Some theories suggest that it was used for burial rituals, while others believe it may have been a temple dedicated to a fertility goddess.

Healing powers:
Some visitors to the Hypogeum have reported feeling a sense of peace and healing while inside the chambers. This has led to speculation that the site may have been used for spiritual or healing purposes in addition to its other functions.

In conclusion, the Hypogeum is a unique and fascinating site that offers a glimpse into the prehistoric past of Malta. Its exceptional acoustics, mysterious history, and limited access make it a must-see destination for anyone interested in ancient history and culture.

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