Mdina: the Oldest City of Malta
Mdina: the city that has seen domination by the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Carthaginians, Arabs, Normans, Angevins, Aragonese, French and Englis.
The history of Mdina, the Old Capital City of Malta
Mdina was the capital of Malta until the order of the Knights decided to make the new capital Valletta.
The door which gives access to medina is called "Greeks gate"; once the order of the Knights had settled on the Greek island of Rhodes also called roses where they had servants. They decided not to inhabit Mdina, but rather the south of Malta, the Victorious and the servants remained in Mdina.
Malta has a long story dating back to 7,000 years ago with the first settlements on the part of Sicily, by the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Carthaginians, Arabs, Normans, Angevins, Aragonese, French and finally the British until it became independent in 1964.
The Phoenicians thenselves built Mdina as a strategic point having the possibility to sight see the enemy. During that period Mdina was named Maleth which means protected city.
During the Roman period they gave it another name that of Melita which means honey. With Roman Mdina was much larger so that its territory stretched until its suburb Rabat but with the arrival of the Arab, the territory was reduced to protect most of the city. Also they changed the name with the actual name Mdina. The Arabs built the cemeteries outside the walls because they were not allowed to bury the bodies in the city. The first noble mortar were Spaniards and Mdina is nicknamed “the Noble City” because today still live aristocratic families.
With the earthquake Mdina was almost destroyed and the knights financed to rebuild it so there is a mix of Baroque and Arabic mix of architecture.
Mdina is very small but it is easy to miss because it has been built in a messy way. Two enter there are two roads which were built during the period of the Knights and the curve road built during the Arab period.
Highlights of the city buildings: discovering the beauties of Mdina
The houses in Medina are very expensive and they have an Arab and British style structure, with wooden balconies and stone tightened by a gate that prevented Arab women to look out and be seen. Normally the houses were built on two floors with a courtyard to maintain privacy. Usually the servants lived on the ground floor together with the animals to heat the house with their breath, while the gentlemen upstairs.
Outside each door were two swings usually shaped like a hand to indicate the Hand of Fatima with the eye of Allah which was used to keep away evil spirits: A larger one was used by men and one more little used by women so the lady of the house could understand who was knocking without looking.
Mdina nowadays’ tourist attraction
Medina is surrounded by the oldest wall in the world constructed by the Arabs in the 9th century that has survived the bombing of the Second World War and also an earthquake in 1693.
It is very common among tourists visiting the narrow streets of Silent City on a carriage drawn by a horse with the man riding the horse called in Maltese (il-Kuccier) as a guide.
Articolo scritto dai partecipanti Francesca D. e Francesca M. - Partecipanti Progetto JOTIC (I.T.S.E.T. Tannoia Corato).