Mdina, the Silent City of Malta has a history of over 4000 years. The mysterious, walled city was the place we chose to visit as our cruise ship stopped at Valletta for a day. Or actually, Mikaela got to choose, it was her birthday that day.
Most people seemed to stay in Valletta or take a sightseeing tour in Malta when the cruise ships stayed at the port for a day. But our day trip destination was Mdina. It sounded like such an interesting, unique place we were ready to skip the European Cultural Capital of 2018 all together this time around. (Sorry Valletta, we’ll be back)
- Mdina used to be the capital of Malta. Until the arrival of the Order of St John in 1530, Mdina was the center of the island.
2. The Silent City. This city only has the cars of the residents and the businesses. So, you’ll see some vehicles (oh no!), but they’re obviously used only when necessary. You can find narrow alleys that are all yours. We can, however, imagine the night time would be the best time to experience the real silence.
3. They say you can meet ghosts here. Only about 300 living residents call Mdina their home, but the walled city has a long history of ghost stories and well, that is not surprising. There’s something eerie about this place even the daytime. The most famous of all the entities of the spirit world said to call this place a home are the woman in a traditional ghonella dress, luring people to follow her and the headless bride called Katerina – she had killed a knight who had attacked her. She was sentenced to death, but before the execution she was allowed one last wish. She wanted to marry her chosen one.
4. Mdina was one of the main main filming locations for Game of Thrones first season. We must admit we are not Game of Thrones connoisseurs, but if you look any aerial shots of the place, you’ll understand why this particular series chose Mdina. They say Mdina is one of the best examples of a preserved, Medieval, walled city in Europe. The entrance to the city and many pretty streets and squares come alive in Game of Thrones. If you are a fan, this is one of the destinations you want to add to your list.
5. You have views around the valley from the city walls. Medina is located on a plateau and from the city walls you can see the rugged landscape surrounding the city. There are also restaurants with views, we visited Museum café, Palazzo Falson.
6. The architecture. The sun burned, sand colored, Norman and Baroque (even some Medieval) buildings are mostly hidden behind the walls if you look the city from outside, but the cathedral and some higher towers rise above. The city used to be surrounded by a wide mote, but these days it no longer exists – it is these days a beautiful garden area. Come inside and get exited about the narrow streets, houses, palaces, churches.
7. The museums. We didn’t unfortunately have time to visit the museums (we wanted to explore the streets), but will do that next time. The walled city is tiny, but you have many interesting places to visit!
8. Lovely restaurants and bars. As we walked the streets we were sure sorry we only had a short time to explore. One of the best things you can think of on the road is flaneuring, popping into places and hanging around. Will do that in Mdina next time.
9. Come for the historical details. This is such a breathtaking city with the details everywhere. Learning about the city is the best practice as there are many details that you really would want to know about. Obviously, the city museum will offer insights as well.
10. Find peace within the ageless town. Despite the other visitors we found this place pretty calming. Spend time at the alleys and the squares, wander off the most popular streets.