Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Malta: Mdina

Here's a recommendation for another great day out in Malta: the ancient walled city of Mdina.

Stone streets of Mdina, Malta

It's old and beautiful and serene (although I imagine in the high season not so much that last one).

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The birth of the city can be traced to the Phoenicians in 1000BC who apparently built the first wall around the hilltop (and called it Malet).

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Then the Romans built a small city on the same spot and called it Melita.

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In the 9th century, under Arab occupation, the city walls were further fortified and a moat built. The name Mdina is derived from the Arab word medina, meaning 'walled city'.

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By the time the Knights of St John took up residence on the island (1500s), Mdina was the home of the governing council of Malta as well as many Maltese aristocrats.

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The Knights built a new capital, Valletta, and Mdina was left in peace to become the 'Silent City' as it's often called.

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We wandered the streets for a while before eating lunch at the Indian restaurant Sharma. It was the best Indian food we've had since leaving Australia - absolutely delicious.

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After lunch we took in the Knights of Malta 'Show' for which I only have a half-hearted recommendation. If it's raining or your kids are really bored then it's not a bad bet. There is a short film followed by a walk amongst the mannequin dioramas (which might scare the Mdina out of your kids). The audio guide equipment was hit and miss - a few of us had a hard time hearing over the static.

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In the afternoon we visited St Paul's Cathedral. St Paul, who was shipwrecked on Malta in 60AD, supposedly lived in Mdina for a while before he returned to Rome.

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Then we had a spot of afternoon tea at the Fontanella Tea Gardens.

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The view from the balcony was fab.

By the time we'd finished the sun was starting to set, bringing a beautiful golden hue to the stone walls.

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As we walked back to the car (none allowed in the walls, there are two large car parks outside the city) we enjoyed one last view back at the Mdina Gate:

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And then at the city itself from afar:

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A great visit - don't miss Mdina if you ever find yourself on the Maltese Islands.

8 comments:

  1. You had perfect timing throughout the trip, it seems. Beautiful!

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  2. It looks fabulous, and love the night shots

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  3. I think Malta might be worth the trip for the Indian alone (and the beer, the cheap beer).

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  4. Hi Kirsty

    Thats a lovely and photogenice island,
    your photo's are really wonderful and you show us nice details.....thanks for this post.

    Greetings, Joop

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  5. Sounds like you saw a lot of the island during the trip - very nice photos.

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  6. It really looks very serene and your pictures are beautiful, as always. Malta never really was on my list of places to go, but you changed my mind. :-)

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  7. I desire that well, please! Such lovely stonework, more blue doors and wrought iron. Thanks for the quick holiday!

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  8. Wow. Such beauty from ancient times. I imagine Paul ad a hard time leaving.....
    Would love to visit one day. I love stone buildings and the architecture.
    Lovely tour

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