Serving as a burial ground from Punic, Roman and Byzantine times the St Paul’s Catacombs represent the earliest and largest archaeological evidence of Christianity in Malta. It’s association to the saint derives from the myth that this cluster of catacombs was once connected with St Paul’s Grotto. Although this remains a myth, recent research shows that the two, originally formed part of a considerably large cemetery just outside of the ancient city of Melite. Indeed, it is now known that the hypogea were located in a cemetery with a very long history of use starting in, at least, the 3rd or 4th c. BC.

The catacombs form a typical complex of interconnected underground Roman cemeteries that were in use up to the 7th, and possibly the 8th centuries AD. They are located at Ħal Bajjada area, which is also known as Tad-Dlam. The area has more than 30 hypogea, of which the main complex, situated within the St Paul’s cluster, comprises a system of interconnected passages and tombs that cover an area over 2000 m2.


The entrance to the main complex leads to two large halls, adorned with pillars made to resemble Doric columns, and painted plasters most of which have now disappeared. These main halls are equipped with two circular tables set in a low platform with which resemble the reclining couch in the triclinium present in Roman houses. Hewn out in one piece from the living rock these triclinia were probably used to host commemorative meals during the annual festival of the dead.

Part of the catacombs were reutilised during the re-Christianisation of the Island, around the 13th century, when an open space was re-cut and used as a Christian shrine decorated with murals. The site was cleared and investigated in 1894 by Dr A.A. Caruana, the pioneer of Christian era archaeology in Malta.

St Paul’s Catacombs

Museum, Archaeological Remains

Mon to Sun (Closed on Good Friday, Christmas Eve & Day, New Year’s Eve & Day): 09.00 am - 16.30 pm

Rabat, Malta

Adults (18+): €6.00

Youths (12-17): €4.50

Senior Citizens (60+): €4.50

Concessions & Students: €4.50

Children (6-11): €3.50

Infants (1-5): Free

Gallery

Virtual Experience

Getting Here

Public Transport

The closest bus stop is 5 minutes by walk. Interested in getting here by public transport?

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Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to the most common questions about St Paul’s Catacombs.

No.

It takes between 1 – 2 hours.

Yes, St Paul’s Catacombs has a giftshop and amenities.

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