Hagar Qim © ERWEH
Haqar Qim is a prehistoric temple complex located in western Malta. Discovered in 1839, it dates back to around 3,000 BC and boast some of the oldest human structures on the planet. The Hagar Qim and nearby Mnajdra ruins are close to the village of Qrendi, about nine miles (15km) southwest of Valletta. The megalithic temples are carved from giant limestone slabs, housing sacrificial altars, oracular chambers, and carved animals and idols, themselves fashioned by flint and obsidian. The largest megalith is 23 feet (7m) high and weighs about 20 tons. Although the ancient ruins of Malta are generally called temples, very little is actually known about their purpose. Many of the relics recovered from the Hagar Qim site, including the famous Venus of Malta and her accompanying fat lady statues, are on display in the National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta. Unlike some of the other temples on Malta, Hagar Qim has an impressive visitors' centre that offers plenty of background information through interactive displays. While there are shelters around the site to protect one from the elements, they hardly detract from the otherworldly experience of the ruins.