The site of the Misqa (Il-Misqa: “the watering place”) is also known as the Misqa Tanks as it is a group of deep rock-cut water tanks. They are located at the top of a hill in Malta about 250 meters north-northwest of the Neolithic temples at Mnajdra and about 600 meters west-northwest of the Neolithic temples at Ħaġar Qim. their purpose was to collect and store rainwater, as water is scarce in this part of the island. They still work: If it has rained recently, you will find them full of water.
Since there is no organic or other material useful for dating to be found in a rock-cut water hole, no one knows for certain how long ago the Misqa Tanks were carved out. Due to their proximity to the temple sites, it has been speculated that they were in use at the same time as those Neolithic temples, but this is uncertain.
Looking at the flat rock surface of the hilltop, it is not immediately apparent that there are large, deep water tanks cut into it, especially if they are full. The openings are small compared to what lies beneath them. We visited the tanks on a day when they were filled to the brim with water, and glancing over the hilltop, they looked to be little more than puddles. It was only when we peered more closely into them that we saw they were much bigger than puddles, but since the visibility of the water was low, even then it was hard to fathom how deep they were.
Tips for the Visitor
The site is located inside the archaeological park where the temples at Mnajdra and Ħaġar Qim are found. However, unlike the temples, there is no fence or gate around the Misqa, so there are no opening hours, entrance fee, or ticket needed.
To get to the site after visiting the two temple sites, follow the hiking trail leading north from the Mnajdra site. There are quite a few trails, and it can be tricky to find the right paths, so we suggest using the Location Map below to make sure you don’t miss your turns. And when you get to the top of the hill, do be careful where you step — especially when the tanks are not full — as other than signs like the one in one of the photos above, there is no protection from falling into the openings. Needless to say, this is not a place for young children.