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Mgarr, Malta

Binġemma Troglodyte Settlement

Enigmatic tombs and cave dwellings on the outskirts of a rural village. 

Binġemma is a small Maltese village, located on the outer limits of Mgarr and boasting beautiful country scenery. But some of its most fascinating features can’t be seen by scanning the horizon. Just across the view of the land below, there’s a series of prehistoric tombs and cave dwellings.

These troglodytic sites stretch across different levels. Some are fairly shallow, whereas others contain corridors that wind their way into even further caves and chambers.

The origins of the site are shrouded in mystery. Archaeologists can’t reach a consensus on what time period they’re from. Some say the troglodytic site dates from the Bronze Age; others claim the caves are a Punico-Roman necropolis; and yet still others insist the caverns are actually the remains of catacombs from a first-century Greek cemetery.

One thing that is certain, however, is that this enigmatic place was briefly used during the 20th century. Like many other underground settlements scattered throughout the country, the caves served as a hiding spot for the locals during the bombings of World War II.

On the edge of the rock outcrop on the other side of the valley, there’s also the chapel of Our Lady of Itria (Lady of the Way) that was built in the 1670s.

Know Before You Go

Access to these tombs is through a little pathway next to the chapel.