GOZO – GGANTIJA TEMPLES
Only 3.5km (2.1 miles) from Gozo’s capital city Victoria, is the ancient Ggantija Temples – awesome for its age, its engineering and for the mystery of its builders.
Experts say the Ggantija temples were built between 3600 and 3200 BC. Ggantija is claimed to be the world’s oldest free-standing structure – older even than the Egyptian pyramids and Stonehenge in Britain.
The Ggantija or, as it was commonly known in the past, “The Giant’s Tower”, is the largest, the best preserved and by far the most impressive prehistoric temple. It was unearthed in 1827 and comprises two temples, built several centuries apart with a forecourt.
According to legend, the massive blocks of Ggantija were carried from the south side of the island by a female giant between 3600 and 3000 BC – some of these slabs are as much as 6m (20ft) high and weigh many tons.
I was wondering about this statement … in the first place, so there were giants? And secondly, why would it be a female giant? I guess this is a story to figure out at another time …
The huge megaliths forming the outer wall (the largest weighing several tons) were built alternately – one horizontally and one upright.
It was fascinating to walk around these ancient temple sites, while life (as we know it today) a few steps further, were carrying on as normal. There was a farmer just on the other side of the wall busy harvesting his onions … it was actually quite weird to witness.
While walking around at the site of the Ggantija Temples, you can’t help but have your imagination stimulated by the thought of the ancient age of this place and what type of people lived here centuries ago.
Well, I suppose sometimes a heap of stones could be the representation of something with much more meaning and history than I could have ever thought.
In our next post about Gozo – yes, there are still more to show – we will visit the delightful little seaside village of Xlendi where we’ve stayed for our weekend on Gozo.
We have done these trips in 2011 & 2013