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The ancient capital of Malta, Mdina is perched on a rocky outcrop in the centre of the island. A walled city, Mdina is two thirds surrounded by terraced fields. The other third is adjacent to Rabat, Mdina's sister town from which she was severed by the Arabs. They built a curtain wall of defences around Mdina and named Rabat a 'suburb'. Mdina would remain, Malta's capital until the Knights of St John arrived and Valletta was given the title.

A protected heritage site, Mdina is open to pedestrians only - a feature which has led this ancient fortified city to be dubbed 'the Silent City'. Mdina is still laid out on its medieval plan and the city is a maze of streets and narrow alleys.

One of the main attractions in Mdina is the Mdina Cathedral situated in Cathedral Square. Now fronted by a couple of canons and a square of majestic architecture, the Cathedral of Mdina is noted for its fine artworks. From here, it will only take a few minutes to reach the thick bastion walls from where you'll be able to see the most of Malta. Nevertheless, you'll find yourself wanting to linger in these streets. Inside these town houses, are magnificent buildings built in the traditional style around a central courtyard. Some have been converted into restaurants and make for very pleasant al fresco dining.

Mdina was a settlement as far back as the Phoenicians but the earliest architecture here is a Norman house. Visitors to Mdina interested in its long history will enjoy the Mdina Experience, an audio-visual show similar to the Malta Experience. Another good attraction (especially if you have kids) is the Mdina Dungeons once a grisly torture chamber.

During the day and especially in the summer months, the "Silent City of Mdina" is inundated with bus loads of tourists on package tours. At night, although all the tourist attractions will be closed, the quiet softly lit streets create a magical atmosphere and your voices will echo as you wander in the silent streets.

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