Mdina - The Silent City
The ancient city of Mdina in Malta is located in the center of the island and is a fascinating place to visit. The city dates back over 3000 years and was the original capital of Malta until 1568. After this the Knights of St. John built the city of Valletta after the Great Siege of 1565. Strolling around the city is like taking a step back in time. It's medieval character really comes to life within it's fortifications.
Narrow streets and alleyways, palaces and churches give the city an almost mystical atmosphere. It seems as if nothing here has changed in centuries, which is probably why it's a very popular tourist destination.
Entrance to the city is through it's magnificent gateway which was built in 1724 by Grand Master De Vilhena. Inside the city there are many attractions worth noting but the best thing to do here is to wander around. It's narrow streets, alleyways and ancient buildings provide a real feel of what this amazing city is all about.
Mdina has some very notable attractions within its walls. One that comes to mind is the St. Paul's Cathedral. The cathedral was built after a terrible earthquake in 1693. Like all Maltese cathedrals this too is an impressive structure. The cathedral's floor is inlaid with detailed marble gravestones which belong to some of the Maltese aristocracy. You will also find a stunning wall painting depicting the shipwreck of St. Paul on Malta.
One of the most impressive buildings in Mdina is the Palazzo Falson also referred to as the Norman House, which was built around 1495 by the Argonese Vice-Admiral Falson. Many items on display throughout the house date back many centuries, including 17th century paintings by Mattia Preti, Maltese, Continental and British silver, an imposing armoury containing swords, pistols, guns and pole-arms. Also on display here is a collection of jewellery from various periods and intricate oriental rugs.
The city also houses a Museum of Natural History in the former Magisterial Palace which was built in 1730. Beneath the palace are the Mdina Dungeons with secret underground passages, chambers and cells. While strolling around Mdina visit the newly restored gardens surrounding the city along with the magnificent view from the bastions.