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Hagar Qim and the neighbouring Mnajdra are two groups of temples situated on high, open wasteland near the southern seacoast of Malta. In this, they differ from the other temples which are usually sited in the inhabited areas of the island.

The Hagar Qim site was discovered under a mound of rubble and debris in 1839. The group consists of two units: the earliest was originally a five apse structure which was eventually modified and extended to form a fan-like series of four irregular apses. No other temple has this curious feature.

The temple's facade, fronted by a large forecourt, has a stone bench running beneath the standing blocks. The trilithon entrance leads to a passage flanked by a pair of apses and another simple apse on the right side. In lieu of a central niche there is a rear exit doorway. Access to the apses is through large port-hole slabs - another special feature in this site.

The first apse of the fan-like series stands at a higher level, and seems to have been cut out as a secluded sanctuary. A tall pillar or betyl, standing against the wall, denotes the phallic symbol in the fertility cult.

Much interesting material has been unearthed at Hagar Qim, amongst which are a decorated pillar altar, two table- altars and some of the 'fat lady' statues on display at the archaeological museum in Valletta.

A small recess in the exterior wall was apparently an external shrine - the standing pillar and triangular slab which adorn it have, once more connotations relating to fertility.

The base of a small three-apse structure stands separately near the temple. This has been interpreted as, possibly, the quarters of the temple's priests. Other temple ruins stand abandoned some metres away from the temple.

Text courtesy of the National Tourism Organisation - Malta.