Header Notice

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

Mdina: The Silent City Of Malta


Modified: January 3, 2024

by Daryn Hord



Welcome to Mdina, the enchanting ancient city steeped in history and culture. Known as the “Silent City” of Malta, Mdina is a captivating destination that transports visitors back in time. With its narrow streets, stunning architecture, and rich heritage, Mdina offers a unique and immersive experience for art and culture lovers.


Situated on a hilltop in the heart of the island, Mdina holds a special place in Maltese history. It was once the capital of Malta and is regarded as one of Europe’s finest examples of an ancient walled city. Stepping through its imposing gates feels like stepping into a different era.


With a history dating back more than 4,000 years, Mdina has been inhabited by various cultures, including the Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs, and Knights of Malta. This diverse heritage is reflected in the city’s architecture, which blends Roman, Arabic, and Medieval influences.


As you wander through the labyrinthine streets, you’ll be greeted by stunning limestone buildings adorned with traditional wooden balconies, intricate doorways, and charming Maltese balconies. The city’s timeless beauty and peaceful atmosphere are a stark contrast to the bustling modern world just beyond its walls.


One of the most remarkable aspects of Mdina is its role as a living museum. While it welcomes visitors from around the world, the city remains a functioning residential area with a population of only 300. This creates a tranquil ambiance and allows visitors to experience the true essence of historic Malta.


Whether you’re an art enthusiast, history buff, or simply someone seeking a tranquil retreat, Mdina offers a wealth of attractions and experiences that will capture your imagination. From its magnificent cathedral to its fascinating museums, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this hidden gem of the Maltese islands.


Join us as we embark on a journey through the history, architecture, and cultural treasures of Mdina. Discover the secrets of its past, explore its stunning landmarks, and immerse yourself in the enchanting ambiance of the Silent City.


History of Mdina

The history of Mdina dates back over 4,000 years, making it one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Europe. Originally settled by the Phoenicians, the city has witnessed the rise and fall of various civilizations throughout the centuries.


Under Roman rule, Mdina flourished as a thriving city and became known as Melite. The Romans left their mark on the city’s architecture, with remnants of villas, baths, and other structures still visible today.


During the Arab period, Mdina underwent significant changes. The city’s name was changed to Medina and the Arab influence is evident in the narrow, winding streets and atmospheric courtyards that are characteristic of the city’s layout.


In 1091, the Normans captured Malta from the Arabs and made Mdina the capital of the island. The city was fortified and its defensive walls were strengthened. Over the following centuries, Mdina became a hub of political and religious power under the rule of the Knights of Malta.


During the Great Siege of Malta in 1565, Mdina served as a strategic stronghold against the Ottoman invaders. The city withstood several attacks, thanks to its fortifications and the bravery of its defenders.


After the capital was moved to Valletta in the 16th century, Mdina gradually lost its political significance. However, it continued to be a prominent ecclesiastical center, serving as the seat of the Archbishop of Malta.


Today, Mdina is a fascinating blend of architectural styles and influences, showcasing its rich and varied history. Visitors can explore the remnants of Roman, Arab, Norman, and Medieval structures, all within the confines of this small but captivating walled city.


As you stroll through the cobblestone streets and admire the ancient buildings, you can’t help but feel the weight of history that lingers in the air. Mdina truly is a living testament to the resilience and enduring spirit of Malta throughout the ages.


Architecture of Mdina

The architecture of Mdina is a captivating blend of different styles and influences, reflecting the city’s rich and diverse history. From Roman ruins to intricate medieval structures, each building tells a story of the civilizations that have left their mark on this ancient city.


One of the defining features of Mdina’s architecture is its limestone buildings, which exude a warm golden hue in the Mediterranean sunlight. These buildings, with their ornate balconies and decorative facades, create a picturesque backdrop for the narrow streets of the city.


Walking through Mdina feels like stepping back in time, with its winding alleys, hidden courtyards, and grand palaces. The city’s layout, largely influenced by Arab urban planning, is a maze of narrow streets designed to provide shade and protection from the elements.


One of the most iconic architectural elements in Mdina is its fortified walls and gates. The walls, dating back to Roman and medieval times, encircle the city and offer breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. The imposing main gate, known as the Mdina Gate, is a symbol of the city’s historical significance.


As you explore the city, you’ll encounter magnificent palaces that once belonged to nobles and knights. Palazzo Falson, a striking medieval palace, is now a museum showcasing a collection of art and historical artifacts. Its stunning architecture and well-preserved interiors provide a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of the city’s former inhabitants.


Another architectural gem in Mdina is St. Paul’s Cathedral, a majestic Baroque-style church that dominates the skyline. Its intricate facade, adorned with statues and ornamental details, is a testament to the craftsmanship of the time. Inside, visitors can marvel at the beautiful marble floors, intricate frescoes, and a renowned masterpiece by Caravaggio.


Mdina is also home to numerous chapels, each with its own unique architectural style and historical significance. These intimate places of worship offer a peaceful retreat and a chance to appreciate the religious art and architecture of the city.


Overall, the architecture of Mdina is a captivating fusion of Roman, Arab, and medieval influences, creating a unique visual tapestry that transports visitors to a different era. Whether you’re an architecture enthusiast or simply appreciate the aesthetics of old-world charm, Mdina’s architectural wonders are sure to captivate your imagination.


Attractions in Mdina

Mdina, the Silent City of Malta, is not only known for its historical significance and stunning architecture but also for its many attractions that delight visitors from all around the world. From grand cathedrals to immersive museums, there is something for everyone to explore and enjoy in this enchanting city.


One of the must-visit attractions in Mdina is St. Paul’s Cathedral, a magnificent Baroque-style church that stands as a testament to the city’s religious heritage. Adorned with intricate frescoes and stunning works of art, the cathedral boasts a rich history and is said to contain the wrist bone of St. Paul himself. Visitors can marvel at its grandeur and soak in the spiritual atmosphere inside.


If you’re fascinated by the history of Mdina, a visit to The Mdina Experience is highly recommended. This immersive audio-visual show takes you on a journey through the city’s past. With state-of-the-art technology, the show brings the history and legends of Mdina to life, offering a captivating glimpse into the city’s rich heritage.


For those seeking a unique and eerie experience, a visit to the Mdina Dungeons is a must. Located beneath the city’s centuries-old bastions, the underground chambers house a haunting display of exhibits that depict the darker side of Mdina’s history. From tales of imprisonment and torture to the secrets of the underground tunnels, this spine-chilling attraction is sure to send shivers down your spine.


Art and history enthusiasts will find delight in the Palazzo Falson Historic House Museum. Housed in a medieval palazzo, this museum offers a glimpse into the life of a noble Maltese family through the centuries. The museum showcases a diverse collection of antiques, artworks, and historical artifacts, providing a fascinating insight into the cultural heritage of Mdina.


While exploring the city, be sure to take a leisurely stroll along the bastions and enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside and sea. These fortified walls offer a serene and picture-perfect vantage point, not to be missed for photography enthusiasts.


Lastly, experiencing Mdina at night is an unforgettable experience. As the sun sets and the city’s streets are bathed in a warm glow, Mdina transforms into a magical, almost ethereal setting. The absence of cars, the soft lighting, and the tranquility of the Silent City create a serene ambiance that is truly enchanting.


With its remarkable attractions, Mdina offers a wealth of experiences for those who seek history, culture, and a touch of the extraordinary. Immerse yourself in the timeless beauty and charm of this ancient city, and create memories that will last a lifetime.


St. Paul’s Cathedral

Located at the heart of Mdina, St. Paul’s Cathedral is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks and a testament to its rich religious history. This magnificent Baroque-style cathedral showcases beautiful architecture, breathtaking artwork, and a rich spiritual heritage.


The history of St. Paul’s Cathedral dates back to the 17th century when the old medieval cathedral was demolished to make way for a grander structure. Built between 1697 and 1702, the current cathedral stands as a remarkable example of Baroque architecture in Malta.


The exterior of the cathedral is an impressive sight with its intricate stone carvings, ornate decoration, and a bell tower that reaches towards the sky. Stepping inside the cathedral, visitors are greeted with a sense of awe as they enter the grand nave adorned with stunning marble floors, colorful frescoes, and chiseled stone details.


One of the highlights of the cathedral is the magnificent dome, which features a breathtaking trompe-l’oeil painting that creates an illusion of a soaring sky above. This artistic masterpiece by Mattia Preti adds to the grandeur and spiritual ambiance of the cathedral.


Art lovers will also be captivated by the cathedral’s collection of intricate sculptures and intricate works of art. The cathedral houses a remarkable collection of masterpieces, including paintings by Mattia Preti, known as the “Calabrese Knight,” who left an indelible mark on Maltese art during the 17th century.


Another significant feature of St. Paul’s Cathedral is the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, a beautifully adorned sanctuary dedicated to the Eucharist. This quiet and contemplative space provides a peaceful retreat for prayer and reflection amidst the grandeur of the cathedral.


One of the most revered relics housed within the cathedral is the wrist bone of St. Paul, the patron saint of Malta. According to tradition, St. Paul was shipwrecked on the island in 60 AD and played a pivotal role in the spread of Christianity in Malta. The presence of this relic adds to the spiritual significance and reverence associated with St. Paul’s Cathedral.


Visiting St. Paul’s Cathedral offers a unique opportunity to not only admire the architectural beauty but also to connect with the spiritual roots of Malta. Whether you are a connoisseur of art, a history buff, or a spiritual seeker, a visit to this magnificent cathedral is a truly enriching and awe-inspiring experience.


Step inside St. Paul’s Cathedral, soak in the timeless beauty, and let the serene atmosphere transport you to a world of spirituality and historical grandeur.


The Mdina Experience

Immerse yourself in the captivating history and legends of Mdina with a visit to The Mdina Experience. This immersive audio-visual show transports visitors through time, allowing them to unravel the secrets of the Silent City’s past.


Located in the heart of Mdina, The Mdina Experience offers an interactive journey that combines state-of-the-art technology with captivating storytelling. As you enter the theater, you are greeted by a unique fusion of lights, sounds, and visuals that bring the history and legends of Mdina to life.


The show takes you on a chronological journey, beginning with the ancient origins of the city and the civilizations that left their mark on its architecture and culture. Through the use of projected images, narration, and sound effects, you are immersed in the vibrant stories and historical events that shaped Mdina’s destiny.


From the Arab period to the Knights of Malta and beyond, the show highlights key moments in Mdina’s history, including the Great Siege of Malta and the city’s transformation over the centuries. The narration provides fascinating insights into the daily life of the city’s inhabitants, their customs, and the challenges they faced.


Through the visuals and soundscapes, you can almost feel the atmosphere of the bustling streets, witness the grandeur of the noble palaces, and experience the echoes of the past that still resonate within the city walls.


The Mdina Experience is not limited to historical facts and figures; it also delves into the legends and folklore that surround the city. Tales of knights, ghosts, and hidden treasures add a touch of mystery and enchantment to the narrative, captivating audiences of all ages.


Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an avid traveler, or simply curious about the past, The Mdina Experience offers an engaging and educational experience. It provides a deeper understanding of Mdina’s significance and allows you to appreciate the city’s architectural wonders even more.


By the end of the show, you’ll have gained a newfound appreciation for the Silent City and its enduring legacy. The Mdina Experience sets the stage for further exploration of the city, as you step out into the narrow streets and winding alleys, armed with knowledge and a deeper connection to the historical tapestry that surrounds you.


Don’t miss the opportunity to embark on this captivating audio-visual journey through the history and legends of Mdina. The Mdina Experience is a multimedia spectacle that leaves a lasting impression on all who venture into the heart of the Silent City.


Mdina Dungeons

Uncover the dark and intriguing history of Mdina by venturing into the depths of the Mdina Dungeons. Located beneath the ancient bastions of the city, these underground chambers offer a spine-chilling glimpse into the city’s sinister past.


The Mdina Dungeons are a fascinating attraction that captures the imagination of visitors who are intrigued by tales of imprisonment, torture, and forgotten secrets. As you descend into the dimly lit chambers, you can’t help but feel a sense of unease and anticipation.


Throughout history, Mdina has witnessed its fair share of dark and turbulent times. The dungeons served as a place of confinement for prisoners, enemies of the state, and those accused of crimes. These underground cells, with their cold stone walls and haunting atmosphere, paint a vivid picture of the suffering and hardships endured by those who were held captive.


The exhibits in the dungeons provide a chilling insight into the methods of punishment and torture used in the past. From iron shackles and restraining devices to implements of torment, the displays are a stark reminder of the cruelty that once took place within these walls.


The dungeons also offer an opportunity to learn about the hidden tunnels that crisscross beneath the city. These secret passageways were used by the Knights of Malta as escape routes and as a means to transport supplies during times of siege and conflict.


Your visit to the Mdina Dungeons will be accompanied by informative displays and audio descriptions, providing historical context and a deeper understanding of the city’s darker side. You’ll hear tales of famous prisoners, stories of daring escapes, and the legends that have emerged from these subterranean chambers.


As you explore the depths of the Mdina Dungeons, the eerie ambiance and immersive nature of the attraction create an unforgettable experience. It’s a chance to confront the darker aspects of history and gain a newfound appreciation for the resilience of the human spirit.


Visiting the Mdina Dungeons is not for the faint of heart, but for those with a curiosity for the macabre and a desire to delve into the hidden corners of history, it is an opportunity to step into the shadows and connect with the past in a truly bone-chilling way.


Prepare yourself for a haunting encounter with the secrets of Mdina’s history as you navigate the dimly lit corridors and locked chambers of the Mdina Dungeons. This experience will leave you with a deeper understanding of the city’s past and a lasting impression of the trials endured within its dark underbelly.


Palazzo Falson Historic House Museum

Step into a bygone era as you explore the Palazzo Falson Historic House Museum in Mdina. This meticulously preserved medieval palace offers a unique insight into the lives of the noble families that once resided within its walls.


Originally built in the 13th century, the Palazzo Falson is a remarkable example of medieval architecture in Malta. The palace takes its name from its former owner, Captain Olof Frederick Gollcher, who was a passionate collector and philanthropist.


Upon entering the Palazzo Falson, you will be greeted by a stunning courtyard adorned with colorful tiles, traditional Maltese balconies, and a peaceful garden. Here, you can pause and imagine the lavish gatherings and leisurely moments that once took place in this exquisite setting.


As you explore the various rooms and chambers of the palace, you will be transported back in time. Each room is meticulously decorated, showcasing the daily life of the Gollcher family and their extensive collection of art and antiques.


The museum displays an impressive collection of artifacts, including religious art, antique furniture, delicate lacework, and exquisite silverware. Noteworthy among the collection is the extensive array of paintings, which includes works by local and European artists, offering a glimpse into the artistic landscape of different eras.


One of the highlights of the museum is the Knight’s room, dedicated to the Order of St. John. Here, you can marvel at a collection of armor, weaponry, and heraldic flags, providing a fascinating overview of the valiant knights who played a significant role in Malta’s history.


The Palazzo Falson also features a library filled with an impressive collection of books, manuscripts, and letters. This tranquil space invites visitors to immerse themselves in the written works of different periods and gain insights into the intellectual pursuits of the time.


Throughout your visit, informative panels and audio guides provide context and unravel the stories behind the artifacts, allowing you to appreciate the significance of each piece and the historical significance of the palace itself.


Visiting the Palazzo Falson Historic House Museum is a unique opportunity to step into the world of Maltese nobility and gain a deeper understanding of the country’s cultural heritage. The meticulous preservation of the palace and its remarkable collection make it a must-visit for art enthusiasts, history buffs, and anyone with a curiosity for the past.


Experience the grandeur and elegance of the Palazzo Falson, and allow yourself to be transported to a time when knights roamed the streets of Mdina and noble families reveled in their opulent surroundings.


The Silent City at Night

Mdina, known as the “Silent City” of Malta, takes on a whole new enchantment after the sun sets. As darkness descends, the city awakens with a serene and magical ambiance that is truly captivating.


Exploring Mdina at night is a unique and immersive experience. The absence of cars and the soft glow of streetlights create an atmosphere of tranquility and a sense of stepping back in time. The narrow, winding streets are bathed in a warm golden light, casting beautiful shadows against the ancient limestone walls.


As you wander through the empty streets, you’ll feel a sense of solitude that is rare in our bustling modern world. The silence is broken only by the occasional hushed footsteps or the echo of a voice drifting from a distant courtyard, creating a surreal and otherworldly aura.


The Silent City at night offers a chance to appreciate the architectural beauty of Mdina in a whole new light. The enchanting facades of the palaces, the ornate doorways, and the intricate balconies seem to come alive as they are bathed in the subtle glow of the moon.


One of the highlights of exploring Mdina at night is the opportunity to enjoy unobstructed views from the city’s fortified walls. As you stand atop the bastions, you can gaze out at the illuminated landscape, with distant towns twinkling and the surrounding countryside bathed in darkness.


For photography enthusiasts, the Silent City at night is a dream come true. The atmospheric lighting and absence of crowds allow for unique and ethereal shots. The narrow, lantern-lit streets create a dramatic backdrop for capturing the timeless beauty of Mdina.


Additionally, some of the city’s attractions are particularly enchanting in the evening hours. St. Paul’s Cathedral, with its illuminated facade and the warm glow emanating from its stained glass windows, becomes a truly mesmerizing sight. The ethereal ambiance adds an extra layer of spirituality to your visit.


While exploring Mdina at night, don’t miss the opportunity to dine in one of the city’s cozy restaurants or cafés. Indulge in traditional Maltese cuisine and savor the flavors of the Mediterranean, all while reveling in the unique atmosphere of the silent city.


Visiting the Silent City at night is an experience that will leave a lasting impression. Whether you’re seeking tranquility, historical charm, or simply a romantic atmosphere, Mdina after dark offers a captivating and unforgettable journey into a world where time seems to stand still.


So, embrace the stillness and immerse yourself in the Silent City at night. Let the enchanting ambiance and the timeless beauty of this ancient city transport you to a world of serenity and wonder under the starry night sky.


Where to Stay in Mdina

Choosing accommodation in Mdina allows you to fully immerse yourself in the charm and history of the Silent City. While there are limited options within the city walls, the unique and intimate experience of staying within Mdina’s ancient walls is well worth it.


One of the most iconic places to stay in Mdina is The Xara Palace Relais & Chateaux. This boutique hotel is housed in a 17th-century palace, offering luxurious accommodations and unrivaled views of the surrounding countryside. The Xara Palace boasts elegant rooms and suites, each with its own unique decor, blending modern amenities with the palace’s historic charm.


For those seeking a more intimate stay, The Point de Vue guesthouse provides a cozy and homely atmosphere. This charming guesthouse offers well-appointed rooms and a rooftop terrace with panoramic views, making it a perfect choice for couples or solo travelers looking for a peaceful retreat.


Alternatively, just outside the city walls is the luxurious The Phoenicia Malta. This historic hotel is nestled within seven acres of beautifully landscaped gardens and offers a tranquil oasis just a short walk away from Mdina. With elegantly furnished rooms and a range of amenities including a swimming pool, spa, and multiple dining options, The Phoenicia Malta provides a blend of modern comfort and timeless elegance.


For budget-conscious travelers, there are also a few affordable options just outside Mdina. The nearby town of Rabat offers guesthouses and small hotels that provide comfortable accommodations at a more affordable price.


Regardless of where you choose to stay in Mdina, one thing is certain – you’ll be enveloped in the rich history and enchanting atmosphere of this ancient city. From the moment you step out of your accommodation, you’ll find yourself immersed in the narrow streets, medieval architecture, and quiet ambiance that make Mdina such a special place.


As a small and intimate city, Mdina is best explored on foot, so staying within its walls allows you to fully appreciate its hidden corners and take leisurely strolls through its enchanting streets both during the day and when the city is bathed in the soft glow of night.


Plan your stay in Mdina carefully, ensuring that you book your accommodation well in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons. By choosing to stay within the Silent City or just outside its walls, you’ll create memories of a unique and unforgettable experience that blends history, culture, and the timeless beauty of Mdina.



Mdina, the Silent City of Malta, is a captivating destination that offers a rich and immersive experience for art and culture enthusiasts. From its ancient history to its stunning architecture, this enchanting city transports visitors to a bygone era filled with grandeur, beauty, and intrigue.


As you wander through the narrow streets and admire the timeless limestone buildings, you can’t help but feel the weight of history that permeates the air. Mdina’s rich past, with influences from various civilizations, is evident in its striking architectural features and unique blend of styles.


The city’s attractions, such as St. Paul’s Cathedral, The Mdina Experience, and the Mdina Dungeons, provide deeper insights into the city’s history and showcase its cultural heritage. These immersive experiences allow visitors to connect with the past and gain a greater understanding of the significance of Mdina.


Additionally, the Palazzo Falson Historic House Museum offers a glimpse into the daily life of Mdina’s noble families, featuring art, artifacts, and furniture that bring the past to life. Exploring the Silent City at night adds a touch of magic, as the quiet streets and softly illuminated facades create an otherworldly ambiance.


Choosing to stay within Mdina allows visitors to fully immerse themselves in its unique atmosphere. Accommodations such as The Xara Palace Relais & Chateaux and The Point de Vue provide luxurious comfort and a front-row seat to the city’s beauty. Alternatively, the nearby The Phoenicia Malta offers a tranquil retreat just a short walk away.


In conclusion, a visit to Mdina is a journey through time, offering a chance to appreciate art, culture, and history in an extraordinary setting. Whether you’re strolling through its historic streets, admiring its architectural wonders, or delving into its intriguing past, Mdina promises a memorable and rewarding experience for all who venture into its silent embrace.


Embrace the enchantment of the Silent City and embark on an unforgettable adventure through the captivating world of Mdina.