7 Facts You Did Not Know About The Former Capital, Mdina

7 Facts You Did Not Know About The Former Capital, Mdina
Updated on
January 26, 2023

Are you planning to explore the truly magnificent and ancient city, Mdina? Here we have some interesting facts you might not know about this unique metropolis.

Mdina has fascinated tourists for years with its quiet cobbled street, overflowing history, and beautiful infrastructure.

A visit to the ‘Silent City’ is on the to-do lists during any holiday here in Malta, in order to truly experience its cultural attractions and sights.

1. It’s much older than you think

A stroll through the city’s winding streets makes it very clear that Mdina has a long history, which dates back further than you think. The ‘Silent City’ was first fortified and inhabited roughly 700 BC, and when the Phoenicians colonised Malta, it was known as Maleth.  

Later on, the Romans Renamed it to Melite, before adopting its current name that came from the Arabic term Medina.

2. It was larger in size!

Mdina today is far smaller in size compared to the way it was at the Roman times. Ancient Melite was about 3-times the size of the present-day Mdina. However, it wasn’t able to fight off attacks.

Mdina was reduced in size and built on a hilltop to make it easily defendable, more secure and safer, following the collapse of the Roman Empire.

3. An earthquake nearly destroyed the city

The Maltese islands encountered a powerful earthquake that struck off the coast of Catania back on 11th January 1693. In Sicily, the earthquake killed over 60 000 individuals, Malta that is 60 miles away felt the tremor, which lasted about four minutes and caused devastating damage to most buildings around the island. Fortunately, no people were seriously injured.

In the ‘Silent City,’ the earthquake nearly destroyed medieval Sicolo-Norman Cathedral that was later on rebuilt in 1702. It's now one of the finest in Europe - Lorenzo Gafa, designed the beautiful Baroque building, and it has an incredible front featuring Corinthian columns.

4. It receives 750, 000 persons per year

Mdina is a must visit by most individuals in Malta, after Valletta. This city welcomes 750 000 persons annually, all waiting to enjoy the beauty and splendour of the ancient city.

5. It has its own soccer team

With over 200 persons living in this city, it is hard to believe that the Mdina could have its own soccer team, but it does. They call themselves 'the Mdina Knights', and they usually play in Malta’s 3rd division.

6. You’ve seen it before

Believe it or not, you have probably seen Mdina and its magnificence before, especially the main entrance if you are a big Game of Thrones fan. The facade in the King’s Landing is our most beloved city.

You should also know that the gate standing at the grand entrance today isn’t the original entrance. The original gate stands about 100 meters to the left. The current gate of the city that bears statues of lions and coat of arms was built back in 1724 and was designed by de Mondion.

7. It could soon be an official UNESCO World Heritage Site

The ‘Silent City’ is presently on the waiting list to become the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) World Heritage Site. The organisation has named several sites across the globe as World Heritage Sites, including the Great Barrier Reef and the Pyramids of Egypt.

With all the grandiose sites, buildings and beautiful history, the city deserves to be well-protected to make sure its survival for the significant benefit of both national pride and future generations.

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