Easter 2010. 500 meters from Hagar Qim towards the sea sits the Mdajdra Temple and like the Haga Qim it is under the protection of a white dome. Of all the temples in Malta I found this one the most impressive. Its size and magnificence is awesome and had more to explore. The site consists of 3 temples set around a semi-circular forecourt. I was lucky enough to be here with only a few other visitors and enjoyed the atmosphere of the place.
After a while it was easy to forget about the protective cover and enjoy the temple for what it was.
The last time I was here the temples they were still being repaired after they were horrifically damaged by hunters at Easter 2001. The temples were fenced in locked up and no amount of pleading could get me through the gates. I had to satisfy myself with a mooch around the perimeter and a prolonged sit on the hillside behind the monuments.
As I walked up to the gated perimeter fence that separates the Hagar Qim temples from the path to Mnajdra I noticed some men working, as I got close to them I could see that they were putting razor wire onto the top of the already substantial fence. The temples have survived the ravages of time, environmental collapse and a couple of thousand years of conquest and invasion. It's extremely saddening that these unique structures, have to be protected against the all too real threat of vandalism by local people. I won't let this dishearten me, today is my temple day.
On the hillside between Hagar Qim and Mnajdra are a series of deep cavities that have been carved into the rock which are known as the Misqa Tanks It is thought that they were used as water cisterns for the prehistoric community in this area. It is possible to walk up to the tanks but today, despite having plenty of time, I declined not to do so. Today was not not a day for traipsing, I had to remain true to my purpose, Mnajdra is where I want to be.
Mnajdra is a difficult site to get your head around. It is actually three temples facing into a common oval forecourt. The smallest and oldest temple is to your right as you approach the site. It is described as a simple trefoil of the Ggantija phase. The second and third temples are of the four apse form and that's about as technical as I'll get.
I sat down and let the pure, deep joy of this place wash over me. The temples are nestled into a hollow in the hillside when you look uphill you see an endless blue sky, when you look downhill you see an expanse of deep blue sea. If you walk from the sea to the sky you will find the temples tucked into their niche somewhere in the middle.
Each temple is a different experience but it is all held together by the land and seascape. The temples, the hillside, the sea, it's just all too perfect. If you ever fortunate enough to visit Mnajdra, I would strongly urge you to go there as early in the morning as possible and try to experience the place without the distraction of strangers.
I'm afraid I'm not eloquent enough to elaborate on the feelings and emotions that this place provokes. Mnajdra is one of the few places on earth that really reaches down inside of me.