10 things you probably never knew about Mdina
Lamp lit by night and known as ‘The Silent City’, Mdina is a delightful place to visit.
Mdina rightly features on the to-do lists of thousands of holidaymakers who visit the Maltese Islands each year.
Why? Simply because Mdina is one of the most picturesque and majestic places in the Maltese Islands.
The city’s narrow streets lit by warm glowing orange lights are particularly beautiful at night.
If you visit by day, be sure to stop off in one of the many coffee shops, and don’t miss St Paul’s Cathedral, the Mdina Dungeons, and the wonderful Natural History Museum.
Here are nine things you probably never knew about Mdina:
1. Mdina is much older than you think
Mdina is not a modern city by any standard, however it is much older than it appears.
Mdina makes its first appearance in the history books during the Bronze Age when the Phoenicians colonized Malta.
Mdina was first inhabited and fortified around 700 BC and was at that time called Maleth.
Mdina, or as it was later known Melite, is also mentioned in the Bible in the story of the shipwreck of St Paul. It is said that the Governor of Melite greeted St Paul after he arrived on the island.
2. Mdina used to be a lot bigger
Mdina used to be far larger in size than it is now.
The decision to reduce the size of the once bustling city was down to the collapse of the Roman Empire.
Once left unguarded, Mdina was unable to fight off attacks. It was scaled back in size in an attempt to make it more secure, sitting on the top of a hill with high battlements for protection.
3. Mdina was nearly flattened
In 1693, Mdina suffered devastating damage after a powerful earthquake 60 miles away in Sicily.
Despite the disaster, it was reported that no-one was killed.
4. Mdina Gate isn’t as old as you think
The gate that stands at the entrance today is not the original entrance.
A bridge was built later on to allow horses and people to enter Mdina.
The original entrance gate stands approximately 100 meters to the left.
The city’s current elegant gate, designed by de Mondion, was built in 1724.
It gate bears a coat of arms, and statues of growling lions stand proudly in the front of the entrance.
5. Mdina is one of Malta’s top attractions
Mdina has lots of fans.
At least 1.7 million visitors were recorded in Mdina in 2018.
In fact, the Silent City is the second most visited historic site in Malta, behind Valletta.
Each day, thousands of people walk through Mdina Gate to enjoy the splendor and the beauty of the city.
6. Mdina’s cathedral is one of the finest in Europe
Mdina’s cathedral was originally built in the late 13th century and dedicated to St Paul.
After being damaged by the earthquake in 1693, the cathedral was rebuilt in 1702.
The splendid Baroque building was designed by Lorenzo Gafà with a gorgeous facade featuring Corinthian columns.
The bright and spacious interior has an inspiring dome that allows light to flood in.
7. Mdina has its own football team
With just over 200 people living in Mdina, it’s hard to believe that Mdina could have it’s own sports teams – but it does.
Mdina’s footballers are the Mdina Knights.
They play in Malta’s Third Division.
8. Mdina is a star of film and television
If you’re a massive Game of Thrones fan, you’ll immediately recognise the main entrance to Mdina.
Mdina Gate was the grand entrance to King’s Landing in the first season of the drama series.
9. Mdina could soon be a World Heritage Site
Mdina is on the ‘waiting list’ to become an official UNESCO World Heritage Site.
With its amazing history and grand buildings, this mini-city is close to becoming recognised as a world treasure for all to enjoy.
Historians say Mdina is one of Europe’s finest examples of an ancient walled city and extraordinary in its mix of medieval and baroque architecture.
10. Mdina has the best views of Malta
Mdina is one of the most beautiful places in Malta and has some of the most stunning views of the island.
The fact that Mdina sits on top of a hill, surrounded by high bastions, makes it an ideal place to admire the view across Malta.
The wide angle view includes main strategic harbours, starting from Marsaxlokk to Valletta’s Grand Harbour and St Paul’s Bay.
From the top of the bastions, Mdina’s residents once watched enemy ships arriving over the horizon.
Today, the view is almost exactly the the same as it was hundreds of years ago.