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HAL SAFLIENI HYPOGEUM

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The Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, or underground cavity, is a unique monument and a splendid example of architecture in the negative. It was discovered accidentally in 1902 by a stone mason who was laying the foundations of some houses.
The Hypogeum consists of halls, chambers and passages hewn out of the living rock and covering some 500m˛. The rock-cut chambers are of a diverse shapes and sizes and finished to different standards of workmanship. The complex is grouped in three levels – the upper level (3600-3300 BC), the middle level (3300-3000 BC), and the lower level (3150 -2500 BC). The deepest room in the lower level is 10.6 metres under road surface.

The upper level consists of a large hollow with a central passage and burial chambers cut on each side. One of the chambers still contains original burial deposits. The middle level consists of various chambers very smoothly finished, which give the impression of built masonry. The workmanship is all the more impressive when one considers that the chambers were meticulously carved using only flint and stone tools. Curvilinear and spiral paintings in red ochre are still visible in some areas.

This unique monument is inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage list. To ensure its conservation, the site’s microclimate is strictly regulated: temperature, relative humidity and carbon dioxide levels are constantly monitored to ensure the Hypogeum’s survival for future generations.

A tour of the site starts with a brief introductory exhibition and multilingual audio-visual film focusing on the temple building peoples and the Hypogeum’s relationship to Malta’s over-ground temple sites.

Only a limited number of visitors are permitted to enter each day.

Due to the popularity of the Hypogeum, visitors may find it difficult to obtain entrance tickets as there could be a waiting period of up to six weeks.

To order Hypogeum tickets, please click here.

 

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