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).


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).


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


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'.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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

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.


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:


And then at the city itself from afar:


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


Teresa said...

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

Katy Cameron said...

It looks fabulous, and love the night shots

Sara Louise said...

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

Joop Zand said...

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

JoeinVegas said...

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

Eva said...

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. :-)

Salley said...

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

Carla said...

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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