Xemxija Heritage Trail

I’m starting this week with a collection of photos from a walk I recently did in the Miżieb area. We started the walk near is-Simar nature reserve in Xemxija, and on the return leg we passed through the hill above Xemxija containing the Xemxija Heritage Trail. Unfortunately, there is very limited information about this trail online – the most authoritative includes a rather poorly described walk on the MTA website, and a relatively recent long essay by a B.A. student in Tourism Studies on the UM open access repository (which, incidentally, points out how poorly this trail is promoted).

Punic Tombs. (Click on the photo for added detail.)

While there are several artefacts and sites of archaeological importance along this trail, perhaps the most prominent are the Punic-Roman tombs. The first photo, above, shows the interior of the larger of these tombs, while the second, below, shows the exterior. I would normally shoot such photos with a tripod, due to the lack of light in the deeper recesses. Likely I would also take multiple shots to blend later, because of the very high contrast. I was rather pleasantly surprised how well the camera handles these extreme conditions, and in order to be quick I settled to take only handheld photos. (For the geeks: the above was taken at ISO 12,800, and had to push the shadows a fair bit. While of course there is noise, it is rather well managed, and in my view does not detract from the photo, even when observed at full scale.)

Punic Tombs. (Click on the photo for added detail.)

Right in front of the tombs there are the remains of a farmer’s hut (gorboġ in Maltese), sans roof. One can walk in through the door, or take a peek from above by following the conveniently placed stairs by the side of the hut. Which is what I did for the photo below.

Gorboġ. (Click on the photo for added detail.)

Further down the trail towards Xemxija one can find an old apiary, shown below. One can walk through the (very low) doorways to see the terracotta pipes which would have held the beehives. The bees could access the hives from the many small openings in the front of the structure, while the harvesters could go through the door to access the back.

Ancient Apiaries. (Click on the photo for added detail.)

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