Ħaġar Qim Temples - Summer Solstice


Ħaġar Qim Temples - Summer Solstice

A solstice marks the northernmost or southernmost position of the Sun as viewed from Earth. This astronomical event happens twice each year. There are also two other events that happen twice a year called equinox. An equinox happens when the sun crosses the plane of the earth’s equator, making night and day of approximately equal length all over the earth.

The Summer Solstice, the Autumnal (or Fall) Equinox, the Winter Solstice, and the Spring (or Vernal) Equinox) are related to the seasons.

Sunrise on the first day of each of these events underlines the relationship between the Ħaġar Qim Temples and the seasons. Although it is not known for certain 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 sun could have been related to the changing seasons and times of planting and harvesting crops.

On the morning of the summer solstice, on the 21st of June, the sun passes through a hole (known as the 'oracle hole') and enters into an apse of the temple. At sunset on the same day, the sun sets in line with the entrance of the high apse, and lights up the back of a small niche through a stone window.

Each year, to mark the the Summer Solstice, Heritage Malta organises an extremely informative tour of the Ħaġar Qim Temples. The Ħaġar Qim Temples are well known for its archaeological value however their particular location provide a unique environment not found elsewhere within other prehistoric sites. Experiencing Summer Solstice within such an environment provides an invaluable experience!

Source: Heritage Malta