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Thursday, 21 June 2018

748) Hagar Qim Temples: Maltese Pre-historic Temples Coin series": (Part II): Second Coin in the series issued on 27.06.2017:

748) Hagar Qim Temples: Maltese Pre-historic Temples Coin series": (Part II): Second Coin in the series issued on 27.06.2017:

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This is the second coin in a series of seven coins (which will depict Malta's Pre-historic monuments that are listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites) and showcases the Hagar Qim Temples.

The Hagar Qim Temples Complex:

The Hagar Qim Temples (in Maltese meaning "Standing Worshipping Stones") are a megalithic temple complex dating from the Ggantija phase (3,600 - 3,200 BC).

The Hagar Qim Temples are one of the seven Megalithic Temples of Malta, which are among the most ancient religious sites on Earth and are unique architectural master-pieces.

   The façade of Hagar Qim showing the entrance and the largest stone used in Maltese Megalithic architecture weighing 57 tons and the "menhir" stands upright at 5.2 metres or 17.0 feet

The Hagar Qim megalithic complex is located on the Southern edge of the island of Malta on a ridge capped in soft globigerina limestone which is the second oldest rock on Malta. The Hagar Qim builders used this limestone in the temple's construction/architecture. As a result, the temple has suffered from severe weathering and surface flaking over the millennia.

Hagar Qim Temple Complex stands on a hill-top overlooking the sea and the Islet of Fifla.  Excavations at the Temple Complex have yielded several important artefacts including a decorated pillar altar, a pair of table altars (mushroom shaped altars)  and numerous statues of seated and standing figures, whch are now on display at the National Museum of archaeology at Valetta.

The Temple Complex has consists of a main temple and three additional megalithic structures besides it. It was built in three phases - beginning with the "Old Temple" Northern Apses, followed by the "New Temple" and finally the completion of the entire structure.

Hagar Qim shares its basic architectural design with Ggantija, Mnajdra and Tarxien Temple Complexes. The basic shape includes a forecourt and facade, elongated oval chambers, semi-circular recesses and a central passage connecting the chambers. This configuration is called a "trefoil". The shape of the temple mimics the sacred sculptures found within the Temple Complex. 

Other man-made structures and natural amenities at the Complex include - dwelling houses, a bastion to protect the complex from wild animals, women's chambers, a niche formed of heavy slabs, a cell containing an altar constructed out of a single block of stone and deeply discoloured by the use of fire etc.

A "Misqa" (or the "watering place") is built on a flat area on a bare rock atop a hill near the temple complex. It contains seven bell-shaped reservoirs that still retain water and are joined as a single tank through subterranean channels.

The Temple's façade is characterised by a trilithon entrance outer bench and orthostats. It has a wide forecourt with a restraining wall and a passage runs through the middle of the building constructed in a modified Maltese megalithic design. A separate entrance gives access to four independent enclosures which replace the North-westerly apse.

                   The Southern wall of Hagar Qim Temple Complex

The Hagar Qim façade contains the largest stone used in Maltese megalithic architecture, which weighs 57 tons. The upright menhir stands at 5.2 metres (or 17.0 feet) high. 

Features of temple architecture reveal possible association with fertility rituals including corpulent figurines and statuary. together with solar alignments and a megalith. The presence of an altar with a concave top was used for animal sacrifices, which is clear from the bones of several sacrificed animals found near the altar.

Adds the UNESCO book titled "Treasures of the World" in my personal library:


" The seven megalithic temples that make up the World Heritage Site in Malta and Gozo are outstanding examples of structures that represent a major development in culture, art and technology. All date from the third millennium BC and each is the result of an individual development, differing from the others in plan, execution and construction techniques.

The two temples of Ggantija on the island of Gozo are notable for their gigantic Bronze Age structures. On Malta, the temples of Hagar Qim, Mnajdra and Tarxien are unique architectural master-pieces, given the limited resources available to their builders. The Ta'Hagrat and Skorba complexes show how the tradition of temple-building was handed down in Malta. Each one is remarkable for diversity of form and decoration. The temples of Malta are the 'oldest free-standing monuments in the world'.

The elaborate rituals to which the temples are testimony are a remarkable manifestation of the human spirit, especially on a remote island at such an early date."

The Commemorative Coin:

The Obverse of the 2 Euro Bimetallic Coin depicts a view of the Hagar Qim Temples Complex.

Inscriptions are "HAGAR QIM TEMPLES 3600-3200 BC" and "MALTA 2017". The stars on the outer periphery represent the 12 countries of the European Union (EU), which had initially joined the EU.

The Obverse designer is Noel Galea Bason.

The Coin Card in which the Coin is housed/encapsulated showing the Obverse face of the coin

It reads, inter alia:

"HAGAR QIM TEMPLES - Hagar Qim in Qrendi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It dates back to around 3,600-3,200 BC and has some of the largest megaliths used in the construction of prehistoric monuments on the Maltese islands. It was first excavated in 1839."

The Reverse of the 2 Euro Bimetallic coin shows the common 2 Euro side against a background of representation of the Hagar Qim Temples Complex

Only 30,000 coin cards have been issued and the coins bear the "Cornucopia - Horn of Plenty" mint mark of the Monnaie de Paris, France (the Paris Mint), where they have been minted.

         The 25 Coin Rolls issued on the Hagar Qim Temple complex

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