The Temples' Facade 

Facade of Hagar Qim Temples

In the day to day running of the temples, the facade served as a monumental backdrop for rituals which  were probably 'public' in purpose. In Temples standing on  hills, the facade would have easily been a reference point in the surrounding landscape

It is for these reasons that during the construction of the temples, great effort was invested in mobilisation of megalithic blocks to give the temples’ entrance their monumental appearances.  To achieve this purpose, the facade is nearly always built in the durable corralline limestone, ( Hagar Qim is a notable exception.)

The early facades were made of coarse megaliths set aside a clearly identifiable trilithon entrance to the temple.  Above this course of megaliths, smaller stones were placed to achieve the full height of the temple’s facade.  A line of worked megaliths might have been placed in front and touching the lower megaliths of the facade to enhance the general appearance, but convincing evidence for this is unfortunately lacking.

In later Temples, the facade becomes even more refined - worked rectangular blocks of stone were used to give the entrance to the temple an elegant, symmetrical appearance.  On each side of the entrance, three vertical megaliths were set, with the outer pair being higher and notched in their upper internal edge, to receive the ends of a horizontal group of megaliths above the lower course of the facade. More courses of horizontal megaliths crowned the above mentioned structure, with one course being longer to give a more aesthetic appearance to the structure.  The final appearance of the facade has not been preserved at any of the temples, but reconstruction is today possible, following the discovery of the sculptured representation of a Temples’ facade at Tarxien.

To the sides of the entrance, stone ‘benches’ are found.  While providing stability to the facade, in a way that compliments the whole structure, these horizontal blocks of stone might have also provided a resting place for the community gathered in front of the temple.

Low Relief of a Temple's Facade found at Mnajdra

A number of sculptures and relief drawings of Temples have been found in the various megalithic monuments. Interpreted as 'models', a cultic role for these artistic objects is more probable. Whatever their function, they are instrumental in giving us a hint on the external appearance of the Temples themselves.

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