Paola, Malta, is the site of the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum and is about 3 mi/5 km south of Valletta. These three levels of underground chambers, used for religious and burial purposes, were carved out of solid rock over several centuries, beginning around 3600 BC.
Also nearby and within walking distance, at Tarxien, are impressive megalithic monuments and temples (3600-2500 BC). This series of structures consists of stone idols, altars, screens, fireplaces and chambers. Allow at least a half-day to visit both Paola and Tarxien. Tours of the Hypogeum should be booked well in advance (http://booking.heritagemalta.org), as daily visitor numbers are strictly limited.
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