A really unique attraction not only in Malta but also in the world. This underground prehistoric temple is protected by UNESCO and only allows a very limited number of visitors every day. It is essential to book in advance; even by a couple of months in high-season.
This truly unique site enjoys an individual listing on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Hypogeum consists of halls, chambers and passages hewn out of the living rock and covering some 500m². The rock-cut chambers are of a diverse shapes and sizes and finished to different standards of workmanship. The complex is grouped in three levels - the upper level (3600-3300 BC), the middle level (3300-3000 BC), and the lower level (3150 -2500 BC). The deepest room in the lower level is 10.6 metres under road surface. The site was discovered accidentally by a stone mason in 1902.
A Jesuit priest, Father Magri S.J., was appointed to report on the underground remains. However in 1907, he was sent on mission work to Sfax, Tunisia, and while there he passed away. Unfortunately, his reports of this early, critical work in the unearthing the Hypogeum have never been found.
The next person to assume responsibility for the excavation was Temi Zammit, the first Director of Malta's Museum's Department and a distinguished professor of medicine. Sir Temi was later knighted for his contribution to medical science. His excavation yielded a wealth of archaeological material including much pottery and human bones, personal ornaments such as beads and amulets, little carved animals and larger figurines.
This unique monument is enshrined in the UNESCO World Heritage list. To ensure its conservation, the site's microclimate is strictly regulated. For this reason, the site is open to a maximum of 80 visitors each day. A tour of the site starts with a brief introductory exhibition and multilingual audio-visual film focusing on the temple building peoples and the Hypogeum's relationship to Malta's temple sites.
From Monday to Sunday seven tours will be conducted, starting on the hour from 9.00 till 16.00 (last tour). There is no tour at 12.00.
To plan your sightseeing, we advise that you book ahead as tours are often full up weeks in advance.
Admission charges for the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum are:
Adults (18 - 59 years): €20.00
Students and Senior Citizens: €15.00
Infants (1 -5 years): no admittance
Last minute tickets are only available for the 12:00 and 16:00 tours at a fixed price of €25. Tickets are sold on a first come first served basis and can only be bought from the National Museum of Fine Arts in South Street Valletta or from the Gozo Archaelogy Museum in Victoria Gozo. Tickets may only be bought the day before the visit.
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How to get there:
By Public Transport: Bus Numbers 8, 11, 12, 27, 29, 30, 115. Follow the signs from the bus stop. The Hypogeum is around 5 minutes walk away from the Paola Parish Church. By self-drive car: Drive towards Poala/Tarxien and follow the signs. Parking is accessible very close to the site.
"Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail" - Ralph Waldo Emerson