Mdina silent city of malta

Step back in time and immerse yourself in the enchanting ambiance of Mdina, the ancient silent city of Malta. With its labyrinthine streets and stunning architecture, this fortified city invites you to a journey of discovery.

Wander through its picturesque alleys, flanked by limestone buildings that showcase the rich historical and cultural legacy of the island. From the imposing Mdina Gate to the awe-inspiring St. Paul’s Cathedral, every corner of this magical city tells a story of centuries past.

skyline of Mdina city

As you roam through Mdina’s narrow streets, you’ll feel transported to another era. Lose yourself in the medieval charm of its palaces, witness breathtaking views from the city walls, and soak up the serenity of its peaceful courtyards. With its atmospheric beauty, it’s no wonder that Mdina has attracted filmmakers and artists alike, providing the backdrop for numerous films and TV shows.

Embark on a journey to Mdina and let yourself be captivated by the mystical allure of this ancient silent city. Experience the magic of history unfolding before your eyes as you explore its hidden treasures and timeless beauty.

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History of Mdina

Mdina boasts a rich and fascinating history that dates back over 4,000 years. Originally settled by the Phoenicians, the city has been ruled by various civilizations, including the Romans (when it was called Melita), Arabs, Normans, and Knights of Malta. Each era has left its mark on Mdina, resulting in a unique blend of architectural styles and cultural influences.

ancient walls of Mdina

One of the city’s most significant historical periods is the Arab rule, which lasted for over two centuries. During this time, Mdina flourished as a centre of learning and culture. The Arab influence is evident in the city’s narrow streets, intricate carvings, and distinctive architectural features.

In the medieval period, Mdina became the residence of the Maltese nobility and was fortified to protect against invasions. The city’s defensive walls, which still stand today, offer panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and provide a glimpse into the strategic importance of Mdina.

view from Mdina over to Valletta

You get a superb view from this old capital to the new one, Valletta. Remember as you look out, it was guns of the defenders of Mdina that sent the Ottomans running back towards where Valletta is now in the Great Siege of Malta, 1565.

Exploring the ancient streets of Mdina

The best way to truly appreciate the beauty of Mdina is by taking a leisurely stroll through its ancient streets. As you wander through the city, you’ll be captivated by its timeless charm and architectural wonders. The narrow alleys, adorned with flower-filled balconies and intricately designed doorways, create a sense of mystery and intrigue.

silent city Mdina

The present day population of Mdina is under 300 and no cars are allowed except a few of the population, emergency vehicles and wedding cars etc. This gives rise to the affectionate local nickname for Mdina, The Silent City.

One of the highlights of exploring Mdina is discovering its hidden courtyards. These serene oases offer a peaceful escape from the bustling streets and provide a glimpse into the private lives of the city’s residents. Admire the beautifully landscaped gardens and marvel at the ornate fountains that adorn these hidden gems.

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the iconic Mdina Gate, the main entrance to the city. This grand entrance sets the tone for your journey through Mdina and offers a glimpse of the architectural splendor that awaits within. Walk beneath its towering arches and soak up the history that surrounds you.

mdina main gate

Must-visit attractions in Mdina

Mdina is home to several must-visit attractions that showcase the city’s rich history and cultural heritage. One of the most prominent landmarks is St. Paul’s Cathedral, a magnificent Baroque masterpiece. Step inside this architectural gem and marvel at its intricate marble work, stunning frescoes, and ornate chapels. The cathedral also houses a museum that displays a collection of religious artifacts and works of art.

St pauls Cathedral mdina

St. Paul’s Cathedral was built after 1693 due to the Norman Church being destroyed by an earthquake. Malta is blessed with so many grand and old significant buildings like this as well as St. John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta.

For a taste of medieval grandeur, visit the Palazzo Falson Historic House Museum. This beautifully preserved palace offers a fascinating glimpse into the life of a noble Maltese family. Explore the opulent rooms, admire the impressive art collection, and learn about the history of the palace through interactive exhibits.

Another must-visit attraction is the Mdina Dungeons, located beneath the city’s main square. Descend into the depths of the earth and uncover the dark and mysterious history of Mdina. The dungeons provide a chilling insight into the harsh realities of medieval life, with exhibits depicting the city’s past as a place of imprisonment and torture.

The enchanting atmosphere of Mdina at night

As the sun sets over Mdina, the city takes on a whole new enchanting atmosphere. The golden glow of the streetlights illuminates the ancient walls and creates a magical ambiance. Take a leisurely evening stroll through the quiet streets and experience the peacefulness of this ancient silent city.

Mdina empty street

For a truly unforgettable experience, dine at one of Mdina’s rooftop restaurants. Enjoy a candlelit dinner while savoring traditional Maltese cuisine and taking in the breathtaking views of the city below. The combination of delicious food, romantic ambiance, and panoramic vistas makes for an unforgettable evening in Mdina.

If you’re lucky, you may even witness one of Mdina’s traditional festivals or events. From religious processions to historical reenactments, these celebrations bring the city to life and offer a glimpse into its vibrant cultural heritage. Immerse yourself in the festivities and embrace the lively spirit of Mdina.

old doorway in Mdina

Traditional cuisine and dining options in Mdina

No visit to Mdina is complete without indulging in the local cuisine. The city is renowned for its traditional Maltese dishes, which reflect the island’s rich culinary heritage. Sample delicacies such as rabbit stew, pastizzi (flaky pastries filled with cheese or peas), and ftira (a traditional Maltese bread).

For a truly authentic dining experience, head to one of Mdina’s charming family-run restaurants. These hidden gems serve up delicious homemade meals, prepared with love and care. Savor the flavors of traditional Maltese recipes passed down through generations and discover the true taste of Mdina.

Mdina tea room

If you’re in the mood for something sweet, don’t miss out on trying the famous Maltese nougat. This traditional treat, made with honey, almonds, and various flavors, is a true delight for the taste buds. Grab a piece from one of the local confectioneries and savor its sweet and nutty goodness.

A big tip from me, go for a cake at Fontanella Tea Garden. Absolutely delicious.

Shopping and souvenirs in Mdina

Mdina offers a unique shopping experience, with its quaint boutiques and artisan workshops. Explore the narrow streets and discover a treasure trove of handmade crafts, including intricate lacework, delicate filigree jewelry, and hand-painted ceramics. These locally crafted souvenirs make for perfect mementos of your time in Mdina.

For a taste of the island’s culinary delights, visit one of the specialty food shops in Mdina. Stock up on traditional Maltese ingredients, such as locally produced olive oil, sea salt, and honey. These culinary treasures will allow you to recreate the flavors of Mdina long after your visit.

If you’re a fan of local artwork, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the numerous art galleries in Mdina. Admire the works of talented Maltese artists, inspired by the city’s rich history and natural beauty. From paintings to sculptures, there’s something to suit every artistic taste.

walking the little streets of Mdina, Malta

Nearby attractions and day trips from Mdina

While Mdina is undoubtedly captivating, don’t forget to explore the surrounding areas and discover the nearby hidden gems of Malta. Just a short distance from Mdina lies the charming town of Rabat, home to the famous catacombs of St. Paul and St. Agatha. Explore these ancient underground burial sites and gain insight into Malta’s early Christian history.

For a taste of the Mediterranean’s crystal-clear waters, head to the nearby coastal towns of St. Julian’s and Sliema. These vibrant seaside resorts offer pristine beaches, bustling promenades, and a wide array of watersports activities. Relax on the golden sands, take a dip in the turquoise waters, or embark on a boat trip to explore the stunning coastline.

If you’re craving a dose of history and natural beauty, visit the ancient temples of Hagar Qim and Mnajdra. These prehistoric sites, dating back over 5,000 years, are UNESCO World Heritage sites and provide a fascinating glimpse into Malta’s Neolithic past.

Tips for visiting Mdina

– Plan your visit during weekdays to avoid the crowds, as Mdina can get busy on weekends and public holidays.

– Wear comfortable shoes, as the ancient streets of Mdina can be uneven and hilly.

– Take advantage of the guided tours offered in Mdina to gain deeper insights into the city’s history and hidden gems.

– Respect the local culture and dress modestly when entering religious sites.

– Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the stunning architecture and panoramic views of Mdina.

cathedral dome in Malta

Conclusion: Experience the magic of Mdina

Mdina, the ancient silent city of Malta, is a place where history comes alive. Immerse yourself in its enchanting atmosphere, explore its ancient streets, and discover its hidden treasures. From the fascinating history to the breathtaking architecture, Mdina offers a truly magical experience.

Embark on a journey to Mdina and let yourself be captivated by the mystical allure of this ancient silent city. Experience the magic of history unfolding before your eyes as you wander through its labyrinthine streets, visit its must-see attractions, and savor its traditional cuisine. Mdina is waiting to transport you to another era, where the past and present seamlessly intertwine.

On every trip to Malta I take the time to come and explore the historic Mdina. Away from the beaches and bars of the coast but a place to visit full of interest and especially the discover the real history of the Malta you have come to see and stay at.

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  1. Sandra Miceli says:

    Oh Paul, you make me feel so homesick to see these beautiful pictures of Malta! I’m very impressed with your history of the Island. I hope you also had a chance to visit the sister islands, Gozo and Comino. Make sure you only visit Comino in summer. There’s only a hotel and an old house but the attraction is the most beautiful colour of the sea. Day ferries in summer and make sure you take your bathing suit.

    1. Paul Steele says:

      thanks for the tips for next time Sandra

  2. Ely Kosanovich says:

    Have you ever visited Salvador City in Bahia State in Brazil.
    Please visit also the TOWN of OURO PRETO ( black GOLD )in MINAS GERAIS – you will like it very much.
    I will enjoy reading, again. THANKS !

  3. Wonderful! Took me back to our visit there 6 years ago. I have to say I’m envious of the first photo particularly, since I tried to take a photo of the city in the distance from a tour bus and it didn’t work! I found it a fascinating place and now want to go there again!

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