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Catacombs Malta - Archaeological Museum in Rabat, Malta

Catacombs Malta - Archaeological Museum in Rabat, Malta

There are a number of Catacombs in Malta but the two most known sites are St Paul’s Catacombs Malta and St Agatha’s Catacombs Malta. The Maltese Catacombs in Rabat has over 30 hypogea (underground temple or tombs) in the St Paul’s and St Agatha complex and hold some of the most prominent early Malta Christianity archaeology with galleries and underground tombs dating back from the 3rd to 8th century.

St Paul’s Catacombs Malta History

When the Romans ran Malta their capital city on Malta was Melite, better known today as Mdina which was the old capital city prior to Valletta. Burials inside the city were prohibited by Roman law, therefore the catacombs are located just on the outskirts of Mdina and often also referred to as the Mdina Catacombs. This network of underground tunnels and rooms were later used by early Christians and represents the largest and earliest evidence of Christianity in Malta.
From the Church of St Paul there is access to St Paul’s Catacombs, named according to tradition where St Paul stayed during his short time on Malta. St Paul was shipwrecked on the island in 60AD and was a major influence in the spread of Christianity in Malta. There are two large halls which once had pillars resembling Doric columns and have two large circular tables in keeping with what you may find in other christian catacombs and Roman style sloping sides that resemble a couch that can be found in Roman houses all made out of the living rock. Many items and artefacts from the imperial and late roman period are found here, the catacombs very much resemble those found in Rome although in a smaller scale.

St Agatha’s Catacombs Malta

St Agatha’s Catabombs is larger in size than that of St Pauls Catacombs. It contains many types of stone tombs that contain over one thousand bosies, some with skeletons still inside and spread out over 2200 square meters with anceint paintings that can be made out on the walls. It is said the martyr St Agatha hid in the catacombs during the Roman persecution of Christians in 249AD. The St Agatha Catacomb serves as a shrine where people come to pray for their loved ones.

St Paul’s Catacombs Malta Tickets

You can visit the St Paul’s and St Agatha’s Catacombs, large sections are sealed off to preserve the archaeological site, however, you can still see significant parts of the catacombs and at the entrance there is a museum with a collection of artefacts relevant to the site and from the many rulers and invaders that left their mark on Malta over the years. You can purchase tickets to view the Malta catacombs mystery and incredible historically important site, adult tickets are available from 5 euro’s (correct at time of writing). The St Pauls Catacombs Malta opening hours are 9am to 5pm Monday to Sunday.
Another museum in Rabat well worth a visit is the Wignacourt Museum - https://www.chevron.co.uk/blog/the-wignacourt-museum-in-rabat/ 
related articles: Hal Saflieni Hypogeum Malta

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