I’ve already written about lots to see on the Mediterranean island of Malta, including the historical town of Mdina, tempting swimming at the Blue Lagoon, and the colorful local buses that will ferry you around the island.
But Malta’s history stretches far back, as evidenced by the Neolithic temples scattered around the island.
One of the best examples requires some advance planning, but it is well worth the effort. In the town of Paola, just outside the capital of Valletta, is the Hypogeum. The Hypogeum is an extensive underground shrine spread over three levels and built between 3600 and 2500 BC.
The temple was discovered in 1899, when routine work in the homes above the site revealed one of the temple’s underground chambers. Excavations have revealed that over 7000 bodies were buried here. Artifacts and jewelry were also discovered.
To protect the delicate environment, including original ceiling paintings, only 70 visitors are admitted each day. I highly recommend booking online well in advance in the summer months – tickets go fast.
Note that children under six are not allowed to visit. I was disappointed by this, since we had to take the tour in shifts in order to stay with our younger child.
The rest of the family will be certain to enjoy this fascinating visit.
The Hypogeum is open daily, 9am – 5pm. Be sure to book tickets in advance.