Tarxien Temples (It-Tempji ta' Hal Tarxien)
Visitors explore the Tarxien Temples on a self-guided basis: following the pathways around the outdoor temple remains, which are sheltered by a large roof canopy. Three of the four temples feature a five-apse design, while the central, fourth temple has six apses. It’s believed the temples were built for animal sacrifices before being re-purposed as burial grounds.
There are various ways to experience the Tarxien site. Explore independently in your own time, or avoid transport worries on a private tour that covers Tarxien and other historical Maltese treasures, such as the Hypogeum necropolis and fortified “Three Cities” of Vittoriosa, Senglea, and Cospicua. Other options include wider excursions that call at the temples before visiting landmarks such as the Blue Grotto; plus hop-on hop-off bus tours that stop outside the site. It’s also possible to choose multi-day tours that take you to all Malta’s highlights over a longer vacation, with private transport and accommodation included.
Things to know before you go
- The Tarxien Temples are recommended for history fans and first-time visitors to Malta.
- The complex is wheelchair- and stroller-friendly.
- There are public restrooms near the site.
How to get there
The temples are located in the town of Tarxien, just south of Valletta. The best travel option is to take a public bus from Valletta’s main terminal—bus numbers 1, 82, 84, 88, and 93 stop nearby. Otherwise, make the 30-minute or so journey from the capital by cab or self-drive car. If the latter, take Route 6 from Valletta before following Route 1, signposted to Paolo and Tarxien. Parking is available in the streets surrounding the site.
When to get there
The Tarxien Temples are open daily, with annual closures on December 24, 25, and 31, January 1, and Good Friday. To explore when the site is quiet, arrive as close to the opening time as possible, especially if you want to easily find parking.
Highlights of the Tarxien Temples
Topping the must-sees is Tarxien’s South Temple, which boasts a large part of a statue of a rotund, skirted female believed to represent the goddess of fertility; along with reliefs of spirals and domestic animals. Don’t miss the stone spheres scattered around the site—archaeologists believe they were sculpted to serve as rollers to transport the bigger stones.
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