On a hill in the center of the Maltese main island you can find a city that changed its name several times. The Phoenicians called it Malet (refuge) because it was easy to defend. During Roman times it was called Melita and when the Arabs conquered the island it was named Mdina which means ‘city’. That’s why the city name sounds like Medina, the second-most important city of Islam in Saudi Arabia.
Already when you get close to the city from Valletta the city looks majestic with its strong fortifications on the hill. It’s been the center of power for many centuries, but the Knights Hospitaller moved their headquarters to Birgu and later erected Valletta as the new capital. Mdina was afterwards only the home of the Maltese aristocracy.
Visiting Mdina is like travelling back in time as the ancient city structures and high walls are well-preserved. You can enter the city center through an ancient gate that you might have already seen as it was used as a scenery in the famous TV series ‘Game of Thrones‘. Inside the city center you can also find the St. Paul’s Cathedral, the main cathedral of Malta. It is the reason why St. John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta is only called the ‘Co-Cathedral‘, but it is far away from the pomp and rich decorations that the St. John’s Co-Cathedral has to offer.
Mdina also hosts two museums, the Mdina Cathedral Museum at the Triq San Pawl (you’ll have to buy a ticket for the museum to enter the cathedral) and the National Museum of Natural History at the Pjazza Publju, an old-fashioned natural history museum that needs a makeover.
L-Imdina / Mdina