Mdina is one of the oldest walled cities in Europe. Located in the Northern Malta it was known as the capital of Malta until the medieval times. It is also known as the ‘Silent City’ as only a few hundred people live there. Mdina is in the highest point of the island and was strategically placed to see any invaders coming by sea.
We were staying in Valletta so we walked to the bus station and used our 7 day bus pass which was great value. We checked out the times for the bus as we knew it was a popular destination so we got the bus mid morning. The bus journey took less than 30 minutes and when we arrived we stopped near the Mdina Gate which was impressive.
We entered Mdina by the gate which was made of stone and there were intricate carvings. We walked, we strolled down the narrow walled lanes and came out to a square where the was St Paul’s Cathedral which was impressive. The cathedral was built on the spot that it is said that the Roman Emperor had met Paul the Apostle. There had been an earthquake which had destroyed the original Cathedral apart from the doors and today there is a Baroque Cathedral in it’s place. The floor of the cathedral is made of marble and has noble families of Mdina and Bishops buried there.
The narrow streets are a pleasure to wander about, there are houses with intricate ironwork door and unusual door knockers which consist of the Maltese cross. The Maltese cross has eight points to it which represent the eight langues or “tongues”, but in effect national groupings) of the noblemen who were admitted to the famed order of The Order of St John including those from Auvergne, Provence, France, Aragon, Castille and Portugal, Italy, Baviere (Germany), and England (with Scotland and Ireland).
After exploring the squares and narrow streets we came across a cafe called Fontadella. It was a rooftop cafe with expansive views of the island. The menu is varied and reasonable. We shared a tasty and fresh pizza and had some local Maltese beer. The cake selection was immense and coffee was superb. I would definitely recommend going there.
Mdina has also been used for film locations such as Games of Thrones and I can see why, it has a lovely and interesting feel to it and can transport you to a different time. We spent a couple of hours in Mdina and felt this was enough. Nearby there is Rabat which also has narrow streets and beautiful buildings, but a tad noisier than it’s neighbour. Rabat, comes from Arabic and it used to mean “a suburb” of Mdina. Rabat is mostly known for the catacombs of St. Paul and St. Agatha, underground cemeteries where the Romans used the bury their dead.
I’d thoroughly recommend this beautiful city!