Ġgantija World Heritage Site

Megalithic temple complex from the Neolithic on the Mediterranean island of Gozo

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Ġgantija
temple Malta
Ġgantija is located in Malta
Ġgantija
Location within Malta
LocationXagħra, Gozo, Malta
Coordinates36°02′50″N 14°16′09″E / 36.04722°N 14.26917°E / 36.04722; 14.26917Coordinates: 36°02′50″N 14°16′09″E / 36.04722°N 14.26917°E / 36.04722; 14.26917
TypeTemple
History
MaterialLimestone
Foundedc.3600 BC
PeriodsĠgantija phase
Site notes
Excavation dates1827 and 1933–1959
ConditionWell-preserved ruins
OwnershipGovernment of Malta
ManagementHeritage Malta
Public accessYes
WebsiteHeritage Malta
Official nameĠgantija Temples
Part ofMegalithic Temples of Malta
CriteriaCultural: (iv)
Reference132ter-001
Inscription1980 (4th session)
Extensions1992, 2015
Area0.715 ha (77,000 sq ft)
Buffer zone33 ha (0.13 sq mi)

Ġgantija (Maltese pronunciation: [dʒɡanˈtiːja], "Giantess") is a megalithic temple complex from the Neolithic on the Mediterranean island of Gozo. The Ġgantija temples are the earliest of the Megalithic Temples of Malta and are older than the pyramids of Egypt. Their makers erected the two Ġgantija temples during the Neolithic (c. 3600–2500 BC), which makes these temples more than 5500 years old and the world's second oldest existing manmade religious structures after Göbekli Tepe in present-day Turkey. Together with other similar structures, these have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Megalithic Temples of Malta.

The temples are elements of a ceremonial site in a fertility rite. Researchers have found that the numerous figurines and statues found on site are associated with that cult. According to local Gozitan folklore, a giantess who ate nothing but broad beans and honey bore a child from a man of the common people. With the child hanging from her shoulder, she built these temples and used them as places of worship.[1][2]

  1. ^ De Soldanis, Gozo, Ancient and Modern, Religious and Profane, Book I, pp. 86–88
  2. ^ "3600BC Ggantija Temples on Gozo – Millennium before the Pyramids or Stonehenge". Carnaval.com. Retrieved 25 September 2014.

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