There are three World Heritage sites in Malta. A fascinating blend of prehistoric temples and Renaissance architecture, these historical places in Malta are all extremely impressive. Let’s get started, with the three UNESCO sites in Malta.
Megalithic Temples of Malta – World Heritage Site
The first of our UNESCO Malta sites is a group of megalithic, or giant stone temples, dating from around 3600 BC. These temples are among the oldest still-standing buildings in the entire world. You can visit all seven of the temples, scattered across the main island of Malta and its sister island of Gozo. We visited four of them: two at Ġgantija, one at Ħaġar Qim, and another at Mnajdra.
Unfortunately, we know very little about the culture that built these giant Malta stone temples, but they must have been avid star-watchers, since many of the temples line up precisely with sunrise on the solstices and the equinoxes. The temples were also built before wheels or metal tools were available on Malta, which is a staggering thought.
Ħal-Saflieni Hypogeum – World Heritage Site
Next up in our tour of Malta’s UNESCO heritage is the famous hypogeum (underground cemetery), which dates from around 3000 BC. Yes, it’s the incredible Malta underground temple. Only discovered in 1931 by accident, it was built in three stages, with each stage deeper underground than the last. The hypogeum is also an example of “negative architecture”, where structures and features are carved out of the rock.
We had a fantastic time here, exploring what must have been a very sacred place for the prehistoric inhabitants. Note that tickets for the Malta Hypogeum are extremely limited for conservation reasons, so you’ll need to purchase tickets well in advance. We bought Hal Salflieni Hypogeum tickets about three months ahead, and planned our entire trip to Malta around that date.
Heritage Malta kindly provided underground footage for this video, and you can see more images on their website.
Historic City of Valletta – World Heritage Site
Valletta is the capital city of Malta, and rounds out our tour of World Heritage sites in Malta. For an historic European city, Valletta is surprisingly new! It was founded in the 16th century by the Knights of the Order of St John, and still has many traces of its fortress origins. But there’s heaps of beautiful stuff to see as well. Particular highlights include the Co-Cathedral of St John, and the Governor’s Palace, as well as the wonderfully laid-out streets. You can also feel the influence of many different cultures, like British, French, Spanish, and North African.
We hope you enjoyed this brief tour of Malta UNESCO Sites. Be sure to check out the World Heritage Sites of Delhi, or the 7 Best UNESCO World Heritage Gardens. And as always, don’t forget to Subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest updates.