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Ggantija (the place of Giants) is the only major prehistoric site on the island of Gozo. The temple is among the oldest and best preserved in the Maltese Islands. It stands on the Xaghra plateau overlooking a deep depression to the south-east.

The Ggantija site consists of two adjacent units - the southern or left-hand temple is the oldest, going back to about 3500 years B.C.

The north temple was constructed some 150 years later. The two temples have separate trilithon entrances.

Each of the units has two pairs of apses. The south temple also has a large central apse on an elevated platform.The concave wall of this apse suggests that the whole structure was originally domed over.

The north temple lacks an elevated central apse - instead it has a small niche. By contrast, its inner right-hand apse stands on a raised floor.

In both units, the inner apses have niches with rudimentary stone altars. An interesting feature is the deep libation hole in the left-hand apse of the south temple.

The temples are constructed in alternate flat and projecting blocks for stability. The interior blocks are of common limestone while the external ones are of hard coralline. Traces of mortar between the courses show that the whole structure was, at one time, plastered over.

The facades of the two temples embrace a large forecourt where congregations used to gather to attend rituals. The temple interior probably served as a sanctuary from which people were excluded.

During the 1827 excavations various types of vases, pottery, statuettes and other material were unearthed. These relics are now on view in the museums of Victoria and Valletta.

Ggantija is indeed the most impressive monument from Gozo's distant past and is considered to be the earliest free-standing megalithic monument in the world.

Text courtesy of the National Tourism Organisation - Malta.