Mdina The silent City

Mdina and Rabat are two popular localities in Malta (South West), and each admired for very different reasons. Mdina is one of the most popularly visited places by travellers because there’s no place like it anywhere.

Sitting on top of a hill overlooking large parts of Malta, it’s a small town, rich in history and surrounded by tall bastion fortifications. It’s filled with centuries-old buildings that have been well maintained throughout the ages.

Today Mdina is a major tourist attraction recognised internationally as an important UNESCO World Heritage Site (currently on its tentative list).

Rabat, the village that neighbours Mdina, on the other hand, is known for its quiet, more rural character and natural beauty. Apart from offering a few key museums and points of interest, Rabat is also known for one of the few forested areas the country knows, at Buskett, the entrance to which can be found on the outskirts of the village.

Neither of the villages are popular places to actually stay, although a few boutique hotels can be found. If exploring the country is your priority, it’s definitely a lovely location to consider staying in.

If you decide to stay elsewhere, it’s an area to visit multiple times, for sightseeing but also to enjoy a beautiful part of Malta in the evening.

Mdina, also called the Silent City, is surrounded by fortified walls and sits on top of one of the highest hills of Malta. Built in Medieval times, much of its original architecture has been preserved and its narrow alleys tell tales of centuries of history and the various rulers that governed Malta.

It may be on most postcards and is a must in all the painters’ portfolio, yet the sight of Mdina as you are driving up to Rabat is a view that does not fail to amaze every time. Standing proudly on one of Malta’s highest promontories, the it looks like a medieval walled city straight out of a fairy tale. It is an inspiring view; a city that hundreds of years after it was built still commands respect, awe, and curiosity about its tales. And what tales, innumerable and long-winding given the city’s long history.

There’s a distinct feel you get when walking through these alleys and the views over large parts of the island from on top of the bastion walls are breathtaking and indicative of the area’s strategic importance to its various occupants.

Once past the deep moat, nowadays a public garden, and inside the city’s walls, cobbled streets are lined with immaculately preserved noble houses, private chapels, palazzi, and cathedrals. The streets are narrow and winding, and walking along them feels like trying to find your way out of a maze; a feeling which adds to the element of surprise at finding large squares. Silence pervades, and is the perfect complement to a walk on the bastions, as well as taking in the panoramic view of most of Malta and the surrounding sea.