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18 June 2006
Summer solstice at Maltese prehistoric sites

Heritage Malta will be allowing a limited group of people to experience the summer solstice from its Hagar Qim and Mnajdra prehistoric temples on the morning of Wednesday, 21 June. Pre-booked participants will have to assemble at Hagar Qim at 05:45am. After witnessing this phenomenon they would then proceed with a guided tour of Hagar Qim and Mnajdra, followed by a visit to Ta' Hagrat and Skorba temples in Mgarr.  
     At the dawn of this day of the year with the longest daylight period, sunlight passes through a hole at Hagar Qim temples, known as the 'oracle hole', which opens onto a chamber on the northeast side of the temple. Here, the sun's rays project a disk of light on a stone slab at the entrance of the apse.  As the minutes pass, the disk becomes a crescent, then elongates into an ellipse, elongates even further and finally sinks out of sight as though into the ground. At Mnajdra, the first rays of the sun light up the edge of a megalith found to the left of the central doorway connecting the first pair of chambers to the inner chambers.
     Following the tours of Hagar Qim and Mnajdra, participants will be taken to Mgarr for breakfast after which they will visit Ta' Hagrat and Skorba temples. The two temples are usually open only on Tuesdays and so this is yet another opportunity for archaeology enthusiasts to visit these two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Participants will be taken back to Hagar Qim temples at around 01:00pm.  As only 50 adults will be allowed to participate in this event, those interested are requested to call Heritage Malta's Head Office immediately on 2295 4312. Tickets cost Lm6, including transport, entrance fees and breakfast.

Source: Di-Ve.com (18 June 2006)

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