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Spending a day in Mdina, the Silent City and former capital of Malta

Discover the secrets of the first fortified city of Malta and its most important Medieval town
  • November 17, 2019 17:00
  • Author Aseniya Dimitrova
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Source: A. Dimitrova

Mdina is one of the most attractive places for tourists in Malta. If you haven’t visited it already, you definitely should. A couple of bus stops away from Valletta, it offers a completely unique experience to visitors. What is more, you can easily explore the entire city in just a few short hours and still have time to see more of the gorgeous country. Also, there are practically no cars inside the fortified area, due to the location's practical space limitations, which is probably how Mdina got its nickname - "The Silent City".

Mdina blue windows houseOne of the iconic instagrammable places in Mdina

Romantic landscapes testify to former glory

Erected on a hill in the Central region, the city has long been the main administrative centre and first fortified location of Malta. Over the centuries, the former capital has been occupied by the Phoenicians, the Carthaginians and the Romans. Its steady decline commenced in the aftermath of the fall of the Roman Empire and the subsequent change in strategic focus by the Order of St. John which placed an emphasis on Birgu and Valletta.

Mdina Main gateThe Main gate of Mdina as it stands today

Mdina welcomes visitors through a majestic baroque main gate. A detailed map offers a better representation of what the city looks like today. Just beyond the gate, one can discover some of the main attractions as well as the first artisan souvenirs shops or even begin the tour with one of the waiting carriages. Typical gifts to take home with you include Mdina glass, or hand-maid silverware and jewellery.

To the right of the entrance are located the Dungeons, opposite to Vilhena Palace and Natural History Museum. A tourist office, as well as numerous information boards telling the story of the city over the centuries, are awaiting curious visitors with tailor-made tourist path suggestions.

The Mdina Cathedral

Without a doubt, the most important place for the locals in each Maltese locality is the Cathedral. The baroque Metropolitan Cathedral of Malta, located on St Paul’s Square is the main church on the islands of Malta. It was built on top of the remains of a Norman cathedral which existed in Medieval times but was destroyed by an earthquake at the end of the 17th century. It is dedicated to the Conversion of St Paul, founder of Maltese church. There are thirteen chapels and five monuments to see, while the ceiling covered with frescoes and paintings depicting the life of St Paul is nothing less than spectacular.

St Paul Cathedral Mdina
Saint Paul Cathedral in Mdina

After visiting the Cathedral, the square or the 18th-century seminary, we would recommend you set aside some time and checking out nearby Palazzo Falson. It offers a spectacular view of the vicinity. At the time one can also take a seat and taste a delicious waffle with artisanal ice cream. It is also the perfect place for a selfie, near the beautifully decorated houses of the locals and their red, white or blue-coloured windows adorned with blossoming flowers.

But from our experience, the most spectacular about Mdina is its architecture and its narrow streets, which together create a unique romantic atmosphere. For those of you who simply love to stroll around and for those who prepare long bucket lists before visiting new places, Mdina is the ideal choice for a sunny and experience-intense journey.

Finally, if you are still thirsty for hidden gems after spending several sunny hours in the romantic Mdina and surrounding Rabat, we recommend taking a short bus trip to Dingli cliffs. Despite the brief uneven walk and the strong uphill wind, you will not regret the journey. If in the end, you manage to take a nice picture for your Instagram, you would have been luckier than us.

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