Heritage Malta celebrates the start of autumn in a unique way at Mnajdra

The Autumn Equinox, heralding the start of a new season, will be celebrated with guided tours organised by Heritage Malta at Mnajdra on the 21st and the 22nd of September.

Opposite the main entrance of prehistoric Mnajdra, a doorway flanked by two large blocks covered in small drilled holes marks the place where a curious occurrence happens at the start of every new season.

As the sun rises on the first day of spring and autumn (the Equinoxes) and the first day of summer and winter (the Solstices), its rays align perfectly and light up specific parts of this passageway. Although it is not clear whether these orientations were intentional, they are so systematic that this is very probable.

In prehistoric agricultural societies, observation of the motion of the stars, the moon and the sun was closely related to the changing seasons and times of planting and harvesting crops.

On the 21st and 22nd September, Heritage Malta invites you to experience first-hand this millennia-old phenomenon at the megalithic site of Mnajdra, part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

During each guided tour, visitors will see the first rays of the rising sun light up the central passage in the South building, just as it did in the site’s heyday over 5000 years ago.

A tour will also be given of the surrounding Natura 2000 site and the Central and East buildings at Mnajdra. Complimentary coffee and snacks will be offered to participants before the tour.

In order to guarantee that all visitors get to observe this phenomenon whilst respecting social distancing measures, only a limited number of tickets are available for this event. Tickets may be purchased from all Heritage Malta sites and museums or via the following links:

21st September: https://shop.heritagemalta.org/index.asp?eventid=783

22nd September: https://shop.heritagemalta.org/index.asp?eventid=782

Tickets cost €30 each, with a discounted price of €20 for Heritage Malta members.

Participants for these events are to meet at 6:15am outside the Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra Visitor Centre. Attendees must wear a face mask and respect social distancing measures. 

Article originally published on heritagemalta.org