Last Updated: Jul 22, 2019 @

The entrance to Mdina, the Silent City.

The entrance to Mdina Malta, the Silent City.

Why is Mdina Malta called the silent city?

Mdina is known as the silent city because it was built on the interior of the island, on high ground and walled. This position allowed them to see the sea and potential enemies. Once the capital of Malta was moved from Medina to Valletta, the city became a ghost town and the name silent city is supposed to reflect that.

Mdina, also known as the “Silent City” or Citta Vecchia was the former capital of Malta until the year 1530. It is a medieval walled city that was fortified by the Phoenicians around 700 BC. It has a population of about 300. It is annexed to the town of Rabat which has about 11,000 population. The name Rabat means suburb in Arabic.

Tales of the Silent City:

When Malta was still under the rule of the Roman Empire, the Roman Governor built his palace in Mdina. The city dates all the way back to 4000 BC. I think it’s quite fascinating that nothing much has changed within the walls, save for automobiles.

The Knights of St John – Their presence in Malta was strong. One of their legacies is the 8 pointed Maltese Cross which denotes the eight obligations of the Knights. They were the defenders of Malta from the walled enclave of Mdina and there is a museum dedicated to them in Valletta that is worthy of a visit.

The population in Mdina itself is only about three hundred.  The streets are really narrow, and save for the residents, no outside automobiles are allowed inside it’s walls. Permission of course, is given for wedding cars or funerals etc. It is more common to find tourists on horse drawn carriages on the very narrow streets. Sometimes, when it’s less crowded,  the klippity klop of the horses’ hooves against the cobble stones is quite romantic.  In the summer time, it does get quite busy, and is definitely NOT silent, but it is a must see in Malta for any one who visits.

Close up of the lions that guard the entrance.

Close up of the lions that guard the entrance to Mdina.


Mdina gate: entrance to Mdina the silent city Malta

Mdina Gate: Flag flying high..Look how narrow the path is and you see why no outside cars are allowed.

Mdina the silent city and GOT connection:

For any “Game of Thrones” fans, the first season was filmed within these walls. It was known as  King’s Landing, site of the Iron Throne and Red Keep.  and the outside scenes filmed on the sister island of Gozo at the Azure Window. Filming was also done in Ireland.

I hope you get the feeling of how peaceful it is from these images. There are lots of restaurants and cafes from where you can get  marvelous views of Malta.

curved cobblestone street of Mdina malta

What strikes you is the quiet most of all when there’s no one about. Mdina is certainly one of the best things to see in Malta

Related Reading: Malta Capital Valletta

Maltese window in Mdina

Abandoned house Maltese window. This window style with its vibrant colours is unique to Malta.


mdina malta windows red color

and then of course some really beautiful Maltese windows in the silent city Mdina.

mdina malta souvenir shop with iron knights in front

You can shop for souvenirs like jewelry or glass blown objects within the walls of the silent city Mdina. The story of the Knights in Malta is so intertwined with Medina and you can find their history everywhere.


Mdina, narrow street and Maltese window in malta

Narrow street in the silent city of Mdina Malta. Few full time residents of the small walled city makes it really quiet at off-peak times.


mdina malta ancient lamp hanging brass

Mdina has so many unique and beautiful old things, such as this hanging lamp

Related Reading: Sliema Malta Guide

mdina fontanella gardens sign

Mdina Malta Restaurants: The Fontanella Gardens is one the best places to eat in Mdina, a great place to drinks and scrumptious desserts and it has great views of Malta.


mdina malta silent city street cobblestone #visitmalta #mdina #silentcitymdnina #cobblestone #maltesewindow #GOTMalta #malta #maltaguide #mdinaguide

Mdina, the old capital of Malta. One of the many narrow streets of the ancient city.


statue of Madonna and child in mdina malta

Malta is a very religious country. Over 300 churches in the tiny country..lots of statues of Madonna and child, like this one in the silent city Mdina.


red phone booth in mdina malta with woman

My lovely MIL. Yes, we still have the red phone booths!


st pauls cathedral mdina

St. Paul’s Cathedral in Mdina the silent city. For such a small city, there are several churches.

Mdina Cathedral Malta:

St. Paul’s Cathedral is supposedly built on the very spot that the then Governor Publium met with St. Paul after he got shipwrecked in the Maltese coast. The original church that stood there had fallen into ruins during the Muslim rule and was rededicated to St. Paul after the Norman conquest. It is a great example of a Baroque style cathedral.  The church was rebuilt after a huge disastrous earthquake in 1693. They did a good job, and it was based on the works of a Maltese architect, Lorenzo Gafa. Of course like other cathedrals, it has been enlarged and redone several times, but this is how it looks now.

The buildings in Mdina the silent city have a lot of character..

The buildings in Mdina have a lot of character. It’s lovely just looking around and checking out the Baroque architectures of buildings and the Maltese window styles especially.


Silent city Mdina - red door with mother and child admiring door knobs

It’s really fun checking out the really quaint and very different kinds of door knobs and knockers in the houses in Mdina the silent city. Our little guest was fascinated with them.


The newly redone play area outside of the walls of Medina.

Malta walled city: The newly redone play area outside of the walls of Mdina. The sunsets are pretty spectacular, as are the views.


mdina walls

Historic walled city of Mdina, Malta. I wouldn’t mind staying here for at least one night within the walls, but there are no hotels that l know of.


carriage in Mdina the silent city Malta

How about a romantic ride through the city of Mdina? Imagine that this carriage just about fits on the narrow roads. They can also transport you through the neighbor city of Rabat.

For travel insurance, Click Here for your free quote. After having lost money, we now make sure to carry insurance on any trip.

How to get to Mdina Malta:

The best way to get to Mdina by public bus is to take No. 51, 52, or 53 from Valletta bus terminal and the journey is about a half-hour. An all day bus ticket is €2.60. Hard to miss the stop as you see the walled city as the bus pulls up around Rabat Hill. It is also possible to take a taxi to Mdina, but it will cost you about €25 and takes roughly 20 minutes, so no huge difference. If you prefer, a walking tour of Mdina is highly informative.

A visit to Mdina is a must for any visitor to Malta. It really is a look into the past! On those rare days that there are not too many visitors, it is delightful. Tip: If you go on the weekday, it’s much better, you get a chance for a great experience. It is way too popular on the weekends as a hangout after church to have a meal, listen to some of the performers and just people watch. Mdina a must see in Malta.

Overall thoughts on Mdina Malte:

A wonderful serene city in the middle of the island that is worthy of a visit. Among the things to do in Mdina:

  • Visit the Mdina Cathedral of St. Paul
  • Admire the beautiful styles Maltese windows and door knobs
  • Visit the Saint Paul Catacombs (scary for me but glad l visited). Located in close-by Rabat
  • Eat at one of the lovely Mdina restaurants such as Bacchus for awesome Mediterranean cuisine.
  • Walk and admire the architecture
  • Talk a carriage ride and listen to the tales of the silent city
  • Experience the Knights of Malta Mdina, an adventure museum
  • Visit the noble Palazzo Falson

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Have you ever visited Malta? If you have, did you get a chance to visit Mdina? What did you think?