The Hypogeum, or underground cavity, is a unique monument and superb example of architecture in the negative. Excavation has yielded a wealth of archaeological material including pottery, human bones, personal ornaments such as beads and amulets, little carved animals and larger figurines.
The Hypogeum consists of halls, chambers and passages hewn out of the living rock and covering some 500 square metres. The rock-cut chambers are of diverse shapes and sizes, finished to different standards of workmanship. The complex is grouped in three levels – the upper level (3600-3300 BC), the middle level (3300-3000 BC) and the lower level (3150 -2500 BC). The deepest room in the lower level is 10.6 metres under road surface. The upper level consists of a large hollow with a central passage and burial chambers cut on each side. The middle level consists of various chambers very smoothly finished, which give the impression of built masonry. To ensure its conservation, the site's microclimate is strictly regulated. For this reason, the site is open to a limited number of visitors each day. A tour of the site starts with a brief introductory exhibition and multilingual audio-visual presentation focusing on the temple building peoples and the Hypogeum's relationship to Malta's temple sites. To plan your sightseeing, we advise that you book ahead as tours are often full up to weeks in advance. You can book online for most of the tours by accessing the Heritage Malta website using the links below. Tickets are also available in person from the Hypogeum Visitor Centre in Paola and from the National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta.
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