Funky old Mdina

Malta

Not to be confused with this classic from the ’80s, we (also being products of the ’80s) ventured to Mdina yesterday.

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The trip took around an hour by bus (it would be much faster by car), but Mdina is well worth the journey. Originally settled by the Phoenicians around 700BC, the city was heavily fortified by the Normans in the 11th century and used by the Knights of St John when they first came to Malta. Mdina also goes by the name “the Silent City” as it became less important and emptied out once the Knights built Valletta. At that point some of Mdina’s buildings became homes for the wealthy aristocracy.

The city is very small, but has the advantage of being high up and at one of the furtherest points from the sea. We lunched at a popular restaurant atop of the great walls with a view of Mosta and Valletta in the distance. Apparently on a very clear day you can also see Mt Etna in Sicily.

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Sitting there and scanning the landscape you certainly could envisage armies marching from the beaches towards the fortified walls. We felt more protected from roving armies in Mdina than we did in Valletta. The only roving armies that day were the passengers off a cruise ship arranged by language following their sign-holding guides. We escaped just as the German party stormed the gates.

The best thing to do in Mdina is to wander through its narrow Medieval streets (and we are very good wanderers). We wandered into the glass blowing shop – Mdina is famous for glass blowing. We wandered past the Nunnery of St Benedict where the nuns live in strict seclusion and are not allowed to leave (we hoped they had air conditioning) and St Paul’s Cathedral with its magnificent clocks.

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All in all, a great day in the Silent City.

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