Mdina The Silent City, Quiet Please!
Mdina The Silent City used to be the capital of Malta and sits in the middle of the mainland, fondly known as the Silent City since there’s a very peaceful atmosphere within its narrow walkways, high walls and ancient limestone buildings.
Don’t worry, you’re allowed to speak in Mdina, but you’ll notice a very peaceful mood (even when it’s heaving with tourists); though I’d still advise visiting outside of the peak season to really enjoy the experience and take it all in.
Mdina The Silent City: A Proud Fortress
Built in the 12th century, The Silent City is one of the most popular sites to see in Malta, and it’s churches, chapels, views out across the island and click-clack of horse hooves in tune with rolling cart wheels – all add to its time-warp atmosphere.
The biblical apostle Paul is thought to have spent time in Mdina when he found himself shipwrecked on Malta.
I wouldn’t want to be in those narrow walkways squeezing through hundreds of tightly packed tourists and multiple tourist groups.
Mdina in Malta, is worth a visit both day and night.
During the night time visit I kept getting thoughts of Sherlock Holmes (so random) – it felt like the kind of location that Sherlock would be wandering around in.
Mdina has an entirely different personality to the current capital Valletta.
Mdina has a more ancient feel, it’s smaller and more tightly packed with passageways and cobbled lanes rather than roads and streets.
The trotting of horses and bump of carriage wheels are about the loudest thing you’ll hear, inbetween the tolls of Mdina’s commanding church bells.
The entire little city feels like a museum, but it isn’t – since around 250 people live amongst its palaces and churches; Mdina even has its own football team.
As per the rest os Malta, there’s no shortage of huge wooden doors in bright colours with ornate door handles and knockers.
Door knockers are a ‘thing’ in Malta.
You’ll also find the National Museum of Natural History in Mdina, immediately to your right as you enter the main gate – the museum costs a few Euros to get in.
Again, when it comes to churches, Malta is King – each church is wonderfully elaborate.
Malta, or the UK?
Malta still holds on to a few British influences, despite gaining independence from the British Empire in 1964.
Kingdom on top of the hill
When you see Mdina from a distance it looks like a fortified castle in the middle of nowhere, standing tall on a hill surrounded by miles of countryside.
Mdina actually sits at the highest point of mainland Malta and it was almost destroyed by a powerful earthquake from nearby Sicily in the 16th century – miraculously, nobody was hurt.
Standing against the bastion walls of Mdina allows you to take in quite a view, looking out over vineyards and farmland, Malta is a lot greener than you think. I guess in the past, many would have stood here on guard, watching for any approaching invaders.
I enjoyed my night time visit to Mdina the most – best enjoyed with fewer people around, especially if you want to take photographs.
Night time views were quite a contrast from the daytime – including my journey up there, which was misty and foggy – thick white fog seemed to engulf us as we drove up there.
At night, Mdina really does become silent. There are far fewer tourists and the city is aglow with street lanterns.
Quite a few people seemed to underestimate the Maltese winter weather, shivering in the cold during the night time visit. Be sure to bring something warm to wrap up in unless you’re there in the high heat of summer.
Apparently, the biggest of Mdina’s three hotels only has 17 rooms, helping to keep things quiet.