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Situated in the southwest of Malta, Qrendi is a small village near Mqabba and Zurrieq with a population of 2,527 people. The village motto is 'Tyrium Dirutas Servo Moles' meaning ‘I conserve the buildings of the Phoenicians’.
Within the boundaries of the village are two well-known Neolithic temples of Mnajdra and Hagar Qim, described as ‘unique architectural masterpieces’ by the World Heritage Sites committee. These sites date back to about 3800 BC, making these temples amongst the oldest freestanding structures and religious sites in the World. Remains of shaft graves, field catacombs, and other archaeological discoveries give evidence of the past habitation around the area.
Ħaġar Qim builders used the soft globigerina limestone that caps the ridge to construct the temple. One can clearly see the effects of this choice in the outer southern wall, where the great orthostats are exposed to the sea-winds. The temple’s façade is typical, with a trilithon entrance, a bench and orthostats. It has a wide forecourt, with a retaining wall through which a passage runs through the middle of the building. This entrance passage and first court follow the common. A separate entrance gives access to four enclosures, which are independent of each other and replace the northwesterly apse.
The Imnajdra temples lie in a hollow 500 metres away from Ħaġar Qim. Three adjacent temples overlook it from one side, while a terrace from the other separates it from a steep slope that runs down to the sea. The first temple on the right features small irregular chambers similar to the enclosures in Ħaġar Qim, and a small trefoil temple with pitted decorations has an unusual triple entrance can be seen. This unusual entrance was copied on a larger scale in the second temple. The middle temple, which was actually the last to be built, has four apses and a niche. The third temple, built early in the Tarxien phase, opens on the court at a lower level. It has a markedly concave façade with a bench, orthostats and trilithon entrance. The lowest temple is astronomically aligned and thus was probably used as an astronomical observation and calendrical site. On the vernal and the autumnal equinox sunlight passes through the main doorway and lights up the major axis whilst on the solstices sunlight illuminates the edges of megaliths to the left and right of this doorway. These structures were not used as tombs since no human remains were found, however archaeologists conclude that the temples were used for religious functions to heal illness and promote fertility because ceremonial objects such as flint knives and rope holes were found, which were possibly used to constrain animals for sacrifice as various animal bones were found.
One of Qrendi’s treasures is the Maqluba (doline), an oval hole in the ground that consists of a depression in which a large number of pomegranate, carob and lauriel trees including the rare national Maltese tree Gharghar are found. On the upper part of the forty-meter deep Maqluba depression once can’t but notice that the area passed through some form of quake. Legend has it that the small chapel, dedicated to St. Matthew the Apostle survived the quake o on the 23rd November 1343, making it one of the oldest surviving Christian buildings in Malta.
In Qrendi one can find other chapels dedicated to Our Lady of Mercy, Our Saviour, Saint Catherine tat-Torba, Mother of Grace and St. Anne’s Chapel. The latter was built in gratitude for the victory of the Maltese during the Great Siege of 1565. Qrendi was always a popular place with the Knights of Malta. In the coastal fortification towers of Torri Hamrija on the coast next to Hagar Qim Tempels, Torri Xiutu at Wied Iz Zurrieq and The Cavalier Octagonal Tower within the village core, prominent knights lived and built Palaces in the Village, namely the Guarena Palace and the Gutenberg Palaces.
The ornate baroque Parish Church, designed by Lorenzo Gafà, the same architect of Mdina Cathedral, was completed in 1720 and is dedicated to Santa Marija. Qrendi celebrates the feast of Santa Marija on 15th August while the secondary feast of Our Lady of Lourdes is celebrated on the first Sunday of July.
Although the majority of the village's old core buildings remain today, Qrendi has changed considerably in recent times. Modern suburb developments have been built and an open space with a bus terminus has been created in front of the Parish Church by removing the walled gardens of an old monastery and old villa. The quiet village gives the visitor a sense of relaxation and tranquility in the narrow winding streets, courtyard houses and small fields, which are all typical of Malta.
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