Mdina is the former capital of Malta. It was first settled by the Phoenicians in 1000 BCE when they built a protective wall around their city. When the Romans arrived they enlarged the city and gave it the name Melita. It wasn’t until the ninth century when the Arabs arrived that it received the name Mdina, which means “walled city” in Arabic. They built a strong wall and a deep moat between the city of Mdina and its suburbs (rabat in Arabic. On Friday we took a public bus from Valletta to Mdina.There are only two gates to enter Mdina and this is the one most used.The moat is landscaped and well manicured. I never saw a way to get down to the moat.
The Cathedral.I personally preferred this building which was also located on Cathedral Square.
We toured the medieval mansion Palazzo Falcon, the former home of the artist and philanthropist, Olof Gollcher. His numerous collections including silver, rugs, and weapons were on display throughout the mansion. You see his studio and dining room above.
Mdina is a small town filled with narrow, curving lanes where the straight sections are said to be less than the length that an arrow can fly.
We also explored Rabat which had the same wooden window balconies as Valletta, but they tended to be more colorful.In Rabat, we visited Saint Agatha’s (I trust you remember her) church, museum, and catacombs. No pictures were allowed in the catacombs. They were difficult to walk through as they were dark with low ceilings and an uneven foot path. The rich were buried in structures in the middle of a room, the working class were buried in the walls, and the poor were buried in the floor. There were some small frescoes on the walls.And every town has to have a cathedral.
We had a very interesting evening back in Valletta where we attended a concert in the Manoel theater, one of the oldest in Europe. From the outside it looks like any apartment building in town.On the inside, it was a classic, old European theater. The concert was the Versatile Brass in concert with six soloists. The band had at least a dozen brass in addition to the percussion, bass, and guitars. The conductor (who looked like a taller version of Rudy Giuliani) was worth the price of admission as he danced around the whole stage leading the band, interacting with the soloists, leading the audience, and even singing on one song. He had a very expressive face. The music included La Vie en Rose, Frank Sinatra, 70’s disco, and several European songs we had never heard but the audience loved. It ended with a thirty minute non stop rock session with the audience dancing and singing. This music included Sweet Caroline, which we took as an honor to us since we sing it after every Panther victory, and several Queen songs. At the end of the show, we were exhausted!
The four masted sailing ship leaving the Valletta harbor is the Sea Cloud, a hand sailed ship which we sailed on about ten years ago in the Caribbean.