The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian



Ancient Temple

<b>Bugibba</b>Posted by salsImage © sals
Latitude:35° 57' 16.95" N
Longitude:   14° 25' 5.71" E

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The hotel entrance is directly opposite the bus terminus in Bugibba - cross the road, avoiding the timeshare touts, and head for the tennis courts. From the hotel lobby, head to the rear left (coffee bar) and take the first door to the outside. Go to your right - and the temple is half surrounded by a 1970s accommodation block for the hotel.

An information board proclaims:

Bugibba Temple, which is preserved in the grounds of the hotel, belongs to the same category of prehistoric monuments as Tarxien and Hagar Qim in Malta, and Ggantija in Gozo. These imposing sanctuaries, erected for the worship of a deity which has so far defied a generally acceptable definition, constitute the oustanding achievement of the Maltese Copper Age, its Megalithic architecture. Their development lasted more than a thousand years and spanned almost the whole of the third millennium before Christ.
The features which have survived here are the main entrance roofed over by a single block of stone weighing several tons, some of the upright blocks forming the left front wall, the semi-circular chamber inside the entrance to the left and a thick rubble wall the incongriguity of which speaks for its Bronze Age date when the temple had long fallen into disuse. Two exceptional blocks, now to be seen at the National Museum of Archaeology in Vallette were decorated with relief carvings of spirals, and aptly enough for a temple so near the coast, stylised fishes.

"preserved" - not sure that's the word I would choose. Random wiring, half destroyed and totally unsafe no doubt, for nocturnal illuminations, fastened to the bottom of the megaliths, and general detritus from hotel guests hiding under boulders .... at least the carvings have been removed and saved.
sals Posted by sals
28th January 2008ce
Edited 28th January 2008ce

Buggibba/Quara is a typical Mediterranean tourist town. It has developed in a strip along the sea shore overlooking St Pauls Bay. The temple is in the grounds of a hotel called the New Dolmen. I drove up and down the seafront looking for this hotel but was unable to find it. I eventually parked the car and walked along the sea front. The hotel faces the sea but doesn't open out onto the shore side road, its quite easy to find, just look for the biggest, ugliest hotel on the strip, and then march on in through the glass, marble and gold foyer, through the bar and out onto a patio area where you'll find all of the usual suspects laying around the pool on their sun beds oblivious to the Megalithic wonder in their midst.

The temple has been incorporated into the hotel grounds and on the day I visited it was being used as a sanctuary/hangout for teenagers escaping from their over-oiled, overweight, g-string be-decked parents. The uprights and lintel of the temple entrance are present and give the temple an air of authenticity, but apart from that there are a number of low walls and a few large stones but it is difficult to visualise what the original structure must have looked like from these meagre remains.

It's worth thinking about the closeness of the sea and the role it may have played in the choice of site for the temple builders. The sea is only a couple of dozen yards away from the temple. This part of the bay forms a natural harbour within a harbour. The view to the North West is interesting as it looks over to Saint Paul's island and the coast beyond. This may be significant to the location of the temple when you consider that the wonderful temples of Hagar Qim and Mnajdra also overlook an island. However the temple entrance is orientated to face inland (south-south-west). This view is completely obscured by the hotel and town. Another indicator that the sea may be linked to this temple is the lintel stone with carved fish along it. The stone was discovered during the excavation of the temple and is now on display in the museum in Valletta.
fitzcoraldo Posted by fitzcoraldo
8th October 2007ce