Yeah, I'm getting these things up further and further apart, I know. Really, I just post when inspiration strikes I guess.
Anyway, this week's gem, in light of the recent yicky turn in the weather, is a shot taken on the HOTTEST day in Malta. We nearly melted into the sidewalk, and I have never polished off an entire bottle of pop as fast as I did after this wander through the ruins. And never still been thirsty for more either. Since I'm late with my photo of the week, I guess I'll make it a big post to make it worth your while eh.
The Mnajdra Temple
The HagarQim Temple
These babies are located out in the middle of nowhere on the island of Malta, on a cliff overlooking the sea. They are the oldest man-made structures ever found. They pre-date Stonehenge, the pyramids and anything else cool and old you can think of. Originally, they had roofs and likely doors that could be barred from inside. They contained useful things like basins for holding water for hand washing and a nifty system of holes in the wall that served to amplify the voice and act as a kind of intercom between rooms. They are filled with phallic symbols and inverted triangles, indicating female genitalia, and were probably the focus of a fertility cult. They were used only for ceremonial purposes, though it is likely that the priests also lived inside. Or that's what the tour guides tell you anyway. My belief on the accuracy of archeology on a culture this ancient is tenuous at best. I mean, really, any long, skinny thing archaeologists find they seem absolutely dying to call a phallic symbol. Sometimes a column is just a column boys. I figure they could just as easily have been a large communal home, or maybe the house of the local rulers. And all the carvings, and "altars" could have simply been interior decor. But what do I know eh?
What I can say with absolute certainty about the site is that the stones were both impressively huge, and nicely decorated. The originals, of course, have been moved indoors to a museum where the ravages of tourists and the sea-salt breezes won't destroy them, but I got the idea anyway. The really interesting thing is that these "windows" are NOT post and lintel construction like one would first think on casual observation. They are in fact carved out of one solid block. Now, whatever else you might think about these "temples", that alone is a pretty impressive feat. And for them to have held up a ceiling and not been crushed, well, that is also pretty awesome. The size of the stones themselves is also pretty awe-inspiring, especially if you stop for a moment and consider what they must weigh and how hard it would have been, with bronze-age technology, to get them carved and upright in the right positions. Below is a shot of Jason in the doorway of one of the HagarQim temples.