A visit to Mdina in Malta is akin to stepping back in time. Mdina’s labyrinth of cobbled streets and unspoilt natural beauty attracts visitors from all over the world. The fairy tale journey begins as visitors cross the bridge to enter through the city gates. Instantly, they are transported into a peaceful town of mysterious alleyways, noble architecture and hidden history.
The town centre is a pleasure to wander around, the alleyways allowing visitors to step into a bygone era. Wrought iron balconies pepper the buildings, old gas lamps light the cobblestones, and quaint bars are tucked away in doorways. Standing majestically in the town square is St. Paul’s Cathedral. A 12th century Baroque Roman Catholic structure dedicated to Paul the Apostle. A notable feature is the dual clock towers, one showing the time, another depicting the date. Step inside to discover incredible dome frescoes, a magnificent vaulted nave and cathedral floor inlaid with tombstones of noble families. Nearby the Cathedral Museum displays artwork, religious relics and rare woodcut prints by Albrecht Dürer. There are several restaurants in Mdina which cater to Mediterranean and Italian culinary themes. Relax on a balcony by the city walls, in the town square, or in an old convent building, sip a glass of wine and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere and distinctive charm of old Mdina.
Mdina is compact and easy to walk around in 15 minutes. The city can be reached via car, as there are parking spaces outside the city walls. Only residents of Mdina can take their vehicles inside the city walls. Buses operate from the capital Valletta, with a journey time of 30 minutes. Resort towns of Sliema and St. Julian’s offer bus services to Mdina, with a journey time of 45 minutes to an hour. Taxi services are available all over the island and from Malta International Airport.
Mdina has been a principal settlement of Malta since Phoenician times. It was founded as the city of Maleth but adopted its present name from the Arab word “Medina”. Mdina remained the capital of Malta until the mid-1500s when Knights of the Order of St. John arrived. Today, the town is home to a few hundred people and known as “The Silent City”. It has not hindered its popularity, only adding to Mdina’s beautiful allure.