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Celebrate the Autumn Equinox in a unique way this season

Photo: Heritage Malta

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

Opposite the main entrance of the prehistoric temple, 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, which are the Equinoxes, and the first day of summer and winter, known as the Solstices, its rays align perfectly and light up specific parts of the passageway. Though it’s not clear whether these orientations were intentional, they are so systematic that it is highly likely they were.

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 of this month, Heritage Malta is inviting you to experience this millennia-old phenomenon first hand, at the megalithic site of Mnajdra, which is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

What’s the tour about?

Photo: Heritage Malta

Photo: Heritage Malta

During each guided tour, visitors will be able to 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 5,000 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 also be offered to participants before the tour.

Participants are to meet at 6:15am outside the Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra visitor centre, wearing a face mask and respecting social distancing measures. Tickets are €30 a head, with a discounted price of €20 for Heritage Malta members.

To guarantee that all visitors get to observe this stunning phenomenon, whilst also respecting social distancing measures, only a limited number of tickets will be available for the event. Want to get your hands on a ticket or two? Tickets can be  purchased from all Heritage Malta sites and museums or via the following links: