Tarxien is the largest of the major overground megalithic temple sites open to visitors on Malta, which combined, form a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Just south of Valletta, the four interconnecting temples were built between 3,600 BC and 2,500 BC in honor of a mother-goddess of fertility. Today they are oxymoronically surrounded by modern housing but remain of importance thanks to their iconic spiral decorations and the central temple which comprises six apses.
The ancient temples are covered with carvings of domestic animals and evidence of animal sacrifice has been found here, including blades and bones. Some of the altars are still intact but many of the artifacts remaining such as the pottery bowls and urns are replica, as is the curious 'Fat Lady' statue, appearing to consist of a skirt and two dumpy legs. The originals are now ensconced in the National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta for preservation. The spherical stones found in abundance at the site appear to suggest that the cornerstones of the temples were moved here on primitive rollers.
The Tarxien Temples are on bus routes 81 and 82 from Valletta bus station. If hiring a car, follow the signs to Paola and Tarxien; it is a 15-minute drive and there is plenty of parking near the site. The Paola Hypogeum, another great Maltese ancient site, is only a 10-minute walk away.
The Heritage Malta Multisite Pass covers entry to Tarxien. Take sun cream, water, and a hat if visiting in summer.