Mdina, Malta

The Silent and Remarkable City of Malta

whimsical architecture
Architectural details, carefully cared for, of the buildings in Mdina.
long shadow figure
Figure runs through one of the many centuries-old alleys of Mdina.
The Chapel of Palazzo Falson
Interior restored to the detail of the chapel that blessed the Falson Palace.
Catacombs of São Paulo
St. Paul's Cathedral
St. Paul's Cathedral, the main Catholic temple in Mdina.
The Vilhena Gate
Coach and pedestrian about to cross the old gate of Vilhena.
Lion and Coat of Arms of Manoel Vilhena
Featured sculpture at the entrance to the Vilhena gate, the main access point to Mdina.
The Maltese Falcon
Pedestrian walks past the entrance to the Maltese Falcon store.
The Great Mdina
The fortified city of Mdina, on a plateau in the Maltese countryside.
Falson Palace Room
Interior of the Falson palace-museum, once inhabited by one of Mdina's noble families.
The Falson Courtyard
Warm Twilight II
warm twilight
Dusk lends warm, electrified tones to St. Paul's Cathedral.
St. Paul II Cathedral
Figures in front of the largest church in Mdina.
Shadows from the past
Mdina was Malta's capital until 1530. Even after the Knights Hospitaller demoted it, it was attacked and fortified accordingly. Today, it's the coastal and overlooking Valletta that drives the island's destinies. Mdina has the tranquility of its monumentality.

The vision clashes with those who had become accustomed to those who, like us, arrive from the coastal heights of Valletta and its Three Cities.

We advance through a straw-yellow plain, broken up by irrigated and verdant plantations.

Little by little, we approached a detached plateau, supported by a series of terraces, walled along its entire length and crowned by a houses of the typical yellowish limestone of Malta.

Three towers and a vault are projected from this cramped house, on top of the main Christian temples in the village.

Mdina, Malta, Silent City

The Triq L-IMdina route leads through a boulevard that disappears into a tunnel of cedars and stone pines.

When we leave it, we make our way to the slope. Moments later, we find ourselves on the equally or more wooded edge of the southwestern face of the fortress.

Facing its moat and the gate of Mdina, the main entrance to the city, guarded by lions who display the coat of arms of the Grand Master of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem.

Mdina, Malta, Silent City, lion

The Vilhena Gate Adapted to the War of Thrones

The gate also has its Portuguese name: Vilhena.

António Manoel de Vilhena, Grand Master from 1722 until his death in 1736, was responsible for the then urgent renovation of Mdina, along with other imposing Maltese works: the Borgo Vilhena Floriana, Forte Manoel and, on the same path of narcissistic baptisms, Teatro Manoel.

Vilhena hired the architect and military engineer Charles Francois de Mondion for several works of his time. The Frenchman built the Vilhena Gate in a lauded baroque style, recovered over and over again and, today, with worldwide fame.

The gate was one of two places from Mdina (among many more from Malta) used in the filming of "War of Thrones".

The first occasion was in episode 3 (Lord Snow) of Season 1, while “Kings landing”. We would also pass by another place made up of scenery, Praça da Mesquita.

Mdina, Malta, Silent City, architecture

In successive crossings of the gate, what we see is largely the result of the city's extrapolated beauty and notoriety.

Horses are crossing the bridge, pulling coaches from other times with dazzled visitors on board, jalopies with newlyweds destined for the cathedral of São Paulo.

And even a boxed jeep, loaded with vegetables, resulting from some gardening operation.

The transit of Mdina is, however, sporadic.

UNESCO Waiting List and the City of Silence Impasse

Malta has been waiting for a long time for UNESCO to move the city from the indicative list (where it has been since 1998) to that of World Heritage, on what Valletta has been around since 1980.

Authorities do everything they can. With one or another exception like those we have witnessed, the walled stronghold of Mdina is the only one in the archipelago where motor vehicles are prohibited.

After all, Mdina stayed for the History as the “Silent City” of Malta. This title and the complementary ones of “Old City” and “Remarkable City” are assets that the Maltese government knows UNESCO cannot ignore.

When we enter Mdina, we are immediately lost in a maze of streets, alleys, squares, doors, windows, balconies, patios and so on, with secular urban elements, with Norman and Baroque lines, all of them improved.

Mdina, Malta, Silent City, architecture

Moments of wandering later, the pressing issue was installed.

Why on earth was such a complex and majestic historical legacy kept waiting?

Falson Palace: Symbol of Faust and Persistence of the Nobles of Mdina

We looked for Palazzo Falson, one of the buildings we paid particular attention to.

Today, a museum, the palace maintains its seventeen rooms still furnished, equipped with various historical belongings and a chapel decorated with religious paintings in which, even on the altar itself, there is a painting of Jesus Christ cared for by a retinue of angels.

Mdina, Malta, Silent City, Palazzo Falson chapel

At Palazzo Falson, we discover the luxury in which the homonymous family lived, in Mdina, in the image of the wealthy and powerful nobility of Malta.

In this fortified luxury and refinement, most of the island's nobles resisted abandoning it, even when Malta's political-military action moved to other parts.

The Millennial Past of the Silent, Old and Remarkable City

The story goes that Mdina was founded, in the 8th century BC, by the Phoenicians. In due epochs of occupation of Malta, it was taken by the Romans, Byzantines and Arabs, the latter being the people who gave it the name it preserves.

Overlooking, far from the Mediterranean coast and less vulnerable to attacks by pirates and all kinds of enemies such as the coastal towns of Malta and those from the neighboring island of Gozo, Mdina remained the island's capital.

Mdina, Malta, Silent City, St. Paul's CathedralUntil the Hospitaller Knights of the Order of St. John, trained in Jerusalem, conquered Malta from the Arabs. Even if it took refuge in Mdina during the Ottoman Siege, the Order preferred Birgu, one of the current Three Cities.

Neither this unexpected impudence, nor the Sicilian earthquake of 1693, which caused significant destruction in Mdina.

Or even the plans of one of the Order's favorite military engineers, the capomast Girolamo Cassar, to reduce it and make it a pure and hard fortress, convinced the nobles to leave.

The Ambitious Work Dictated by António Manuel de Vilhena

Fast forward to 1722. António Manuel de Vilhena arrived at the command of Malta. In a short time, he acquired an image of benevolence and respect for his subjects that they were not used to seeing in the Hospital Masters.

Vilhena dictated the complete recovery of Mdina and its fortification in keeping with the historic importance of the city and the forces that continued to covet Malta, some of them, on the island's gates.

In addition to the gate that we have already covered, Vilhena ordered several public buildings: the Municipal Palace and the Corte Capitanale which, in our days, is used as a town hall.

The nobles left to stay.

Years later, among other social and, above all, military upheavals, the French and the British disputed Malta over the coast of Birgu, Valletta and other villages on the east coast of the island.

Also on that occasion, the privileged nobility class resisted moving from its walled backwater. It was this kind of self-retreat and the subsequent absence of vehicles that gave rise to the epithet City of Silence.

Shipwreck of the Apostle Paul and the Early Christianity of Malta

As we walked along it, as a result of the abundance of foreign tourists, the silence remained partial, more complete in the catacombs of São Paulo, part of an underground system of almost 4km that includes other galleries.

The catacombs were used as a cemetery for the Phoenicians and Romans, in use until at least the XNUMXth century and, again, during the island's reconversion to XNUMXth century Christianity.

Mdina, Malta, Silent City, catacombs of São Paulo

A current of history holds that the apostle Paul was taken to Rome to be tried as a political rebel when a fulminating storm caused the ship to wreck.

Paulo and the other passengers on board managed to swim to Malta. Part of a much richer narrative, it is believed that during his forced stay, Paulo took refuge in a cave in Rabat, the city that today extends outside the walls of Mdina.

Come winter, he will have been invited by Publius, the Roman leader of the island, to his house. In those days, Paul healed an intense fever that afflicted the Roman. Recognized, he will have converted to Christianity. He even became the first Bishop of Malta.

The shipwrecked presence of Paul and his decisive role in the alleged early Christianization of Malta, justified the baptisms in the cathedral of Mdina, the church of Rabat and other monuments as we passed.

The Silent City's Twilight and Slow Gold

Alley after alley, triq behind trich, the already long day of the Silent City is drawing to a close.

We were delighted to see how the sunset yellowed corners contemplated by the great star.

Shadows lengthening in the alleys and pedestrians appearing from centuries-old tunnels like projected ghosts.

Mdina, Malta, Silent City, long shadow

We see them wandering around the base of the cathedral, which the twilight and the lighting bless with a warm almost pink.

We remember that that resplendence would have to be impressive doubled, if seen from a distance, almost taking off from the highlands of Mdina.

So we hurried down to its eastern foothills.

Already on a trail that furrowed the surrounding minifundia, disturbing corridors that cultivated their physical form, we were enchanted by the celestial structure, spatial environment of the Cathedral of São Paulo in a dramatic fire against the firmament.

Galle, Sri Lanka

Galle Fort: A Portuguese and then Dutch (His) story

Camões immortalized Ceylon as an indelible landmark of the Discoveries, where Galle was one of the first fortresses that the Portuguese controlled and yielded. Five centuries passed and Ceylon gave way to Sri Lanka. Galle resists and continues to seduce explorers from the four corners of the Earth.
Valletta, Malta

An ex-Humble Amazing Capital

At the time of its foundation, the Order of Knights Hospitaller called it "the most humble". Over the centuries, the title ceased to serve him. In 2018, Valletta was the tiniest European Capital of Culture ever and one of the most steeped in history and dazzling in memory.
Senglea, Malta

An Overcrowded Malta

At the turn of the 8.000th century, Senglea housed 0.2 inhabitants in 2 km3.000, a European record, today, it has “only” XNUMX neighborhood Christians. It is the smallest, most overcrowded and genuine of the Maltese cities.
Gozo, Malta

Mediterranean Days of Utter Joy

The island of Gozo is a third the size of Malta but only thirty of the small nation's three hundred thousand inhabitants. In duo with Comino's beach recreation, it houses a more down-to-earth and serene version of the always peculiar Maltese life.
Castles and Fortresses

The World to Defense - Castles and Fortresses that Resist

Under threat from enemies from the end of time, the leaders of villages and nations built castles and fortresses. All over the place, military monuments like these continue to resist.
Khiva, Uzbequistan

The Silk Road Fortress the Soviets Velved

In the 80s, Soviet leaders renewed Khiva in a softened version that, in 1990, UNESCO declared a World Heritage Site. The USSR disintegrated the following year. Khiva has preserved its new luster.
Cartagena de Indias, Colombia

The Desired City

Many treasures passed through Cartagena before being handed over to the Spanish Crown - more so than the pirates who tried to plunder them. Today, the walls protect a majestic city always ready to "rumbear".
Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

The Capital Fortress of a Parricide King

Kashyapa I came to power after walling up his father's monarch. Afraid of a probable attack by his brother heir to the throne, he moved the main city of the kingdom to the top of a granite peak. Today, his eccentric haven is more accessible than ever and has allowed us to explore the Machiavellian plot of this Sri Lankan drama.
Helsinki, Finland

Finland's once Swedish Fortress

Detached in a small archipelago at the entrance to Helsinki, Suomenlinna was built by the Swedish kingdom's political-military designs. For more than a century, the Russia stopped her. Since 1917, the Suomi people have venerated it as the historic bastion of their thorny independence.
Saint John of Acre, Israel

The Fortress That Withstood Everything

It was a frequent target of the Crusades and taken over and over again. Today, Israeli, Acre is shared by Arabs and Jews. He lives much more peaceful and stable times than the ones he went through.
San Juan, Puerto Rico

The Highly Walled Puerto Rico of San Juan Bautista

San Juan is the second oldest colonial city in the Americas, after the Dominican neighbor of Santo Domingo. A pioneering emporium and stop over on the route that took gold and silver from the New World to Spain, it was attacked again and again. Its incredible fortifications still protect one of the most lively and prodigious capitals in the Caribbean.
Jaisalmer, India

The Life Withstanding in the Golden Fort of Jaisalmer

The Jaisalmer fortress was erected from 1156 onwards by order of Rawal Jaisal, ruler of a powerful clan from the now Indian reaches of the Thar Desert. More than eight centuries later, despite continued pressure from tourism, they share the vast and intricate interior of the last of India's inhabited forts, almost four thousand descendants of the original inhabitants.
Rabat, Malta

A Former Suburb in the Heart of Malta

If Mdina became the noble capital of the island, the Knights Hospitaller decided to sacrifice the fortification of present-day Rabat. The city outside the walls expanded. It survives as a popular and rural counterpoint to the now living museum in Mdina.
Birgu, Malta

To the Conquest of the Victorious City

Vittoriosa is the oldest of the Three Cities of Malta, headquarters of the Knights Hospitaller and, from 1530 to 1571, its capital. The resistance he offered to the Ottomans in the Great Siege of Malta kept the island Christian. Even if, later, Valletta took over the administrative and political role, the old Birgu shines with historic glory.
Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique, Wildlife, lions
NP Gorongosa, Mozambique

The Wild Heart of Mozambique shows Signs of Life

Gorongosa was home to one of the most exuberant ecosystems in Africa, but from 1980 to 1992 it succumbed to the Civil War waged between FRELIMO and RENAMO. Greg Carr, Voice Mail's millionaire inventor received a message from the Mozambican ambassador to the UN challenging him to support Mozambique. For the good of the country and humanity, Carr pledged to resurrect the stunning national park that the Portuguese colonial government had created there.
Aurora lights up the Pisang Valley, Nepal.
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 3rd- Upper Banana, Nepal

An Unexpected Snowy Aurora

At the first glimmers of light, the sight of the white mantle that had covered the village during the night dazzles us. With one of the toughest walks on the Annapurna Circuit ahead of us, we postponed the match as much as possible. Annoyed, we left Upper Pisang towards Escort when the last snow faded.
Treasures, Las Vegas, Nevada, City of Sin and Forgiveness
Architecture & Design
Las Vegas, USA

Where sin is always forgiven

Projected from the Mojave Desert like a neon mirage, the North American capital of gaming and entertainment is experienced as a gamble in the dark. Lush and addictive, Vegas neither learns nor regrets.

Mountains of Fire

More or less prominent ruptures in the earth's crust, volcanoes can prove to be as exuberant as they are capricious. Some of its eruptions are gentle, others prove annihilating.
portfolio, Got2Globe, Travel photography, images, best photographs, travel photos, world, Earth
Ceremonies and Festivities
Cape Coast, Ghana

The Divine Purification Festival

The story goes that, once, a plague devastated the population of Cape Coast of today Ghana. Only the prayers of the survivors and the cleansing of evil carried out by the gods will have put an end to the scourge. Since then, the natives have returned the blessing of the 77 deities of the traditional Oguaa region with the frenzied Fetu Afahye festival.
Leisure Channel
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

From Channel to Channel in a Surreal Holland

Liberal when it comes to drugs and sex, Amsterdam welcomes a crowd of outsiders. Among canals, bicycles, coffee shops and brothel windows, we search, in vain, for its quieter side.
Singapore Asian Capital Food, Basmati Bismi

The Asian Food Capital

There were 4 ethnic groups in Singapore, each with its own culinary tradition. Added to this was the influence of thousands of immigrants and expatriates on an island with half the area of ​​London. It was the nation with the greatest gastronomic diversity in the Orient.
Djerbahood, Erriadh, Djerba, Mirror
Erriadh, Djerba, Tunisia

A Village Made Fleeting Art Gallery

In 2014, an ancient Djerbian settlement hosted 250 murals by 150 artists from 34 countries. The lime walls, the intense sun and the sand-laden winds of the Sahara erode the works of art. Erriadh's metamorphosis into Djerbahood is renewed and continues to dazzle.
Spectator, Melbourne Cricket Ground-Rules footbal, Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne, Australia

The Football the Australians Rule

Although played since 1841, Australian Football has only conquered part of the big island. Internationalization has never gone beyond paper, held back by competition from rugby and classical football.
Inle Lake, Myanmar

A Pleasant Forced Stop

In the second of the holes that we have during a tour around Lake Inlé, we hope that they will bring us the bicycle with the patched tyre. At the roadside shop that welcomes and helps us, everyday life doesn't stop.
Creel, Chihuahua, Carlos Venzor, collector, museum
Chihuahua a Creel, Chihuahua, Mexico

On Creel's Way

With Chihuahua behind, we point to the southwest and to even higher lands in the north of Mexico. Next to Ciudad Cuauhtémoc, we visited a Mennonite elder. Around Creel, we lived for the first time with the Rarámuri indigenous community of the Serra de Tarahumara.
View of Fa Island, Tonga, Last Polynesian Monarchy
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

Exotic Signs of Life

Armenian Church, Sevanavank Peninsula, Lake Sevan, Armenia
lake sevan, Armenia

The Bittersweet Caucasus Lake

Enclosed between mountains at 1900 meters high, considered a natural and historical treasure of Armenia, Lake Sevan has never been treated as such. The level and quality of its water has deteriorated for decades and a recent invasion of algae drains the life that subsists in it.
East side of the volcano, Fogo Island, Cape Verde
Fogo Island, Cape Verde

Around the Fogo Island

Time and the laws of geomorphology dictated that the volcano-island of Fogo rounded off like no other in Cape Verde. Discovering this exuberant Macaronesian archipelago, we circled around it against the clock. We are dazzled in the same direction.
Northern Lights, Laponia, Rovaniemi, Finland, Fire Fox
Winter White
Lapland, Finland

In Search of the Fire Fox

Unique to the heights of the Earth are the northern or southern auroras, light phenomena generated by solar explosions. You Sami natives from Lapland they believed it to be a fiery fox that spread sparkles in the sky. Whatever they are, not even the nearly 30 degrees below zero that were felt in the far north of Finland could deter us from admiring them.
Baie d'Oro, Île des Pins, New Caledonia
Île-des-Pins, New Caledonia

The Island that Leaned against Paradise

In 1964, Katsura Morimura delighted the Japan with a turquoise novel set in Ouvéa. But the neighboring Île-des-Pins has taken over the title "The Nearest Island to Paradise" and thrills its visitors.
Terra Nostra Park, Furnas, São Miguel, Azores, Portugal
Vale das Furnas, São Miguel (Azores)

The Azorean Heat of Vale das Furnas

We were surprised, on the biggest island of the Azores, with a caldera cut by small farms, massive and deep to the point of sheltering two volcanoes, a huge lagoon and almost two thousand people from São Miguel. Few places in the archipelago are, at the same time, as grand and welcoming as the green and steaming Vale das Furnas.
Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
Yerevan, Armenia

A Capital between East and West

Heiress of the Soviet civilization, aligned with the great Russia, Armenia allows itself to be seduced by the most democratic and sophisticated ways of Western Europe. In recent times, the two worlds have collided in the streets of your capital. From popular and political dispute, Yerevan will dictate the new course of the nation.
Ribeiro Frio, Madeira, Vereda dos Balcões,
Natural Parks
Ribeiro Frio Forest Park, Madeira

Ribeiro Frio Acima, on the Path of Balcões

This region of the high interior of Madeira has been in charge of repopulating the island's rainbow trout for a long time. Among the various trails and levadas that converge in its nurseries, the Parque Florestal Ribeiro Frio hides grandiose panoramas over Pico Arieiro, Pico Ruivo and the Ribeira da Metade valley that extends to the north coast.
gaudy courtship
UNESCO World Heritage
Suzdal, Russia

Thousand Years of Old Fashioned Russia

It was a lavish capital when Moscow was just a rural hamlet. Along the way, it lost political relevance but accumulated the largest concentration of churches, monasteries and convents in the country of the tsars. Today, beneath its countless domes, Suzdal is as orthodox as it is monumental.
female and cub, grizzly footsteps, katmai national park, alaska
PN Katmai, Alaska

In the Footsteps of the Grizzly Man

Timothy Treadwell spent summers on end with the bears of Katmai. Traveling through Alaska, we followed some of its trails, but unlike the species' crazy protector, we never went too far.
The Dominican Republic Balnear de Barahona, Balneario Los Patos
Barahona, Dominican Republic

The Bathing Dominican Republic of Barahona

Saturday after Saturday, the southwest corner of the Dominican Republic goes into decompression mode. Little by little, its seductive beaches and lagoons welcome a tide of euphoric people who indulge in a peculiar rumbear amphibian.
Peasant woman, Majuli, Assam, India
Majuli Island, India

An Island in Countdown

Majuli is the largest river island in India and would still be one of the largest on Earth were it not for the erosion of the river Bramaputra that has been making it diminish for centuries. If, as feared, it is submerged within twenty years, more than an island, a truly mystical cultural and landscape stronghold of the Subcontinent will disappear.
Executives sleep subway seat, sleep, sleep, subway, train, Tokyo, Japan
On Rails
Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo's Hypno-Passengers

Japan is served by millions of executives slaughtered with infernal work rates and sparse vacations. Every minute of respite on the way to work or home serves them for their inemuri, napping in public.
aggie gray, Samoa, South Pacific, Marlon Brando Fale
Apia, Western Samoa

The Host of the South Pacific

She sold burguês to GI's in World War II and opened a hotel that hosted Marlon Brando and Gary Cooper. Aggie Gray passed away in 2. Her legacy lives on in the South Pacific.
Visitors at Talisay Ruins, Negros Island, Philippines
Daily life
Talisay City, Philippines

Monument to a Luso-Philippine Love

At the end of the 11th century, Mariano Lacson, a Filipino farmer, and Maria Braga, a Portuguese woman from Macau, fell in love and got married. During the pregnancy of what would be her 2th child, Maria succumbed to a fall. Destroyed, Mariano built a mansion in his honor. In the midst of World War II, the mansion was set on fire, but the elegant ruins that endured perpetuate their tragic relationship.
Esteros del Iberá, Pantanal Argentina, Alligator
Iberá Wetlands, Argentina

The Pantanal of the Pampas

On the world map, south of the famous brazilian wetland, a little-known flooded region appears, but almost as vast and rich in biodiversity. the Guarani expression Y bera defines it as “shining waters”. The adjective fits more than its strong luminance.
Full Dog Mushing
Scenic Flights
Seward, Alaska

The Alaskan Dog Mushing Summer

It's almost 30 degrees and the glaciers are melting. In Alaska, entrepreneurs have little time to get rich. Until the end of August, dog mushing cannot stop.