Christmas in Malta Part II – Mdina

The horse and carriage is one way to move through  the beautiful former capital of Malta which has been reduced considerably from its former size and is surrounded by the suburb of Rabat.

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We waited outside the gates of this walled city for our private tour guide to walk and talk us through this very picturesque city which is said to be over 4000 years old. According to tradition it was here that in 60 A.D. the Apostle St. Paul is said to have lived after being shipwrecked on the Islands. It is now home to lines of noble and wealthy people with a total population of 300 people. Apart from cars belonging to residents, no cars are allowed into Mdina.IMG_0582

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Below is the entrance to Vilhena Palace. I’m always interested to hear the stories of what informed the building of palaces and castles. There always seems to be an element of vanity, envy and greed which in modern times would translate to competing with the Jones’s. On the other hand perhaps we have to also express gratitude for envy and pride that led to the creativity behind some of the beautiful architectural heritage we now appreciate. The palace is now home to the administration of the city with the Mayor living there.

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Over the period of its existence, Mdina has been occupied by the Phoenicians, Carthagnians and Romans and suffered significant destruction during the 17th century earthquake. The architecture here combines medieval, baroque, Venetian and English influences. IMG_0610

As a city which was frequently under seige, it is built defensively with narrow, winding roads that were built to deceive pirates and allow for hiding places or escape for the inhabitants of Mdina.IMG_0666

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The courtyard below was part of a set for the filming of one of the Game of Thrones episodes.IMG_0624

The hotel below was once home to Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip for three years and has also hosted other famous people, including Brad Pitt.IMG_0632

St Paul’s Cathedral below is part of a square which  in days gone by, would have served as a venue for town gatherings. IMG_0601

Once again, I am fascinated by the intricate architecture and how beautiful the limestone buildings appear with interesting accents of colour. IMG_0599

Note how striking the Bougainvillea shows up against these walls.IMG_0664

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An orange tree in one of the courtyards provides a lovely touch of vegetation in a very stony landscape.IMG_0630

Apart from the beautiful architecture, I was once again enamoured by the beautiful colourful doors and window boxes.

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An important feature of this Winter holiday was drinking lots of hot chocolate. We stopped at this restaurant to indulge in decadent hot chocolate and the most divine slices of cake.

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Sitting on the upper deck of the restaurant, we had splendid views of Malta and the Mediterranean sea.

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Thank you for joining me this week and join me again for a visit to the picturesque little fishing village of Marsaxlokk.