Mdina is one of the most beautiful places in Malta. It is surrounded by high bastions on the top of a hill. It is the highest on the island and situated far from the sea a good strategy for defensive purposes. It is called the silent city.
From this location the defenders had a very wide angle view of the most important part of the low lying land. This incorporates Malta’s main two strategic harbours starting from the south, Marsaxlokk bay, the Grand harbour centre of the island and that at Bugibba / St. Paul’s Bay. From the top of the bastions they could see enemy ships arriving over the horizon.
Today this view is the same as those days. It is one of the most visited spots.
Medina is the name given by its former Arab rulers many centuries ago. It was the old capital city of Malta, built during the medieval period before Valletta was built.
For 3000 years from the Bronze Age (1,500 - 500 BC). Then the Phoenicians and the Byzantines made further changes and improvements to the fortifications and not the least the built up areas for people to live.
Then the ruling Arabs which further fortified the capital city until all other rulers until the arrival of the Knights of Malta. They too left their mark in building places and fortifications until Valletta was built and became the capital of Malta.
As soon as you enter the high bastions through the main door across the moth, you are immediately transported into a different world. With narrow medieval roads, Baroque style architecture, beautifully decorated palaces, noble houses, convents with adjacent chapels or churches.
All constructed and beautifully decorated in Maltese limestone. In the centre you find a large typical Maltese square with an imposing cathedral dedicated to St. Paul. Due to its high location can be observed from far away and even more is the red dome of the Mdina cathedral giving an extraordinary impact upon observation.
There are hardly any modern signs in the streets. It remains truly original in its character. All streets are paved and only a few residential cars are allowed inside. The evening lit up streets with lanterns remind us of the way people used to live.
During the day the ‘Il-karozzin’ (a horsedrawn carriage) is hired by tourists for a tour around the city. The sound of the wheels on the paved roads reminds you of the past.
This medieval city is very much visited by tourists. For the Maltese, it is a favourite. Apart from its attracting character, the Maltese like to come here for serenity, fantastic views both day or at night.
But not the least, there is a very popular cafeteria called ‘Fontanella’ which offers delicious food and sweets. It is situated on the edge of the bastions overlooking the vast landscape of Malta. Do not miss this oppportunity.
Malta is truly an unexpected experience, so tiny but packed with culture. It does not leave any stone unturned in impressing its visitor.
We invite you to flavour this beautiful city of Mdina.