Natural History Museum
Situated within the fortified city of Mdina, the 18th century Baroque palace displays numerous exhibits, namely: local geology and palaeontology, human evolution, exotic mammals, marine fauna, insects, shells and birds. Dioramas are used to showcase different Maltese habitats such as the local cliff habitat of birds, traditional rubble walls and the diversity of animals which frequent the Islands’ valleys.
Palazzo Santa Sofia
Palazzo Santa Sofia is a palace located in Villegaignon Street, across the square from the cathedral. Its ground floor was built in 1233, and it’s believed to be the oldest surviving building in the city. The upper floor is of a much later construction, being built in the 20th century.
The ground floor of Palazzo Santa Sofia was built in the 13th century- the year 1233 is inscribed on the moulding of one of its windows. The upper floor was built some time after 1938.
Metropolitan Cathedral Archives
The Cathedral Chapter is a well-organised body which has kept detailed records of its Chapter meetings and of its various administrations. It has amassed a corpus of historical records related to the Chapter, the Diocese and the Universitas.
The Banca Giuratale (also known as the Municipal Palace), is a public building in Mdina. It was built in the 18th century to house the city’s administrative council and courts. It was later used as a private residence and a school. It presently holds a small collection of the National Archives of Malta.
Torre dello Standardo
The Torre dello Standardo is a tower in Mdina, forming part of the city’s fortifications. It was built by the Order of St. John between 1725 and 1726, on the site of an earlier tower. Its purpose was to communicate signals between Mdina and the rest of Malta. Nowadays, part of the building serves as a tourist information centre (TIO- Tourist Information Office).
Historical & Cultural Train Tour
A Trackless Train tour around the cities of Mdina, Rabat and Imtarfa. The Train departs from a terminus next to the Domus Romana (outside Mdina). The sightseeing train tour provides an informative commentary on the historical, cultural and architectural importance of the area whilst providing great fun for all the family. The tour duration is approximately 30 minutes covering an 8km route.
The Cathedral Museum
The Cathedral Museum is open to the public, showcasing artistic works- paintings, sculptres and tapestries. Visitors to the Museum view the artistic collections inside the museum and are equally encouraged to visit the Cathedral itself, in all its grandeur and glory- after its reconstruction in 1693 following the devastating earthquake.
The Corte Capitanale is a former courthouse in Mdina, currently serving as the Local Council . It was built in period Baroque style between 1726 and 1728- to designs of the French architect Charles François de Mondion. Although the building is linked to Palazzo Vilhena, the Corte Capitanale building has its own entrance and façade.
The Casino Notabile, is a former clubhouse located at Saqqajja Hill, outside the walls of Mdina. It is a small ornate building, which was built between 1887 – 1888 to designs of Webster Paulson. The Casino Notabile underwent extensive restoration in 2016.
Palazzo Falson, the former home of Capt. Olaf Frederick Gollcher OBE (1889-1962) – the son of a prosperous shipping merchant of Swedish descent. In 2001 Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti (Maltese Heritage Foundation) entered into a management agreement with the Gollcher Foundation, and proceeded to restore the palazzo and all its contents to their former glory, thereby fulfilling Gollcher’s desire in bringing this unique and extraordinary treasure-trove to the general public.
Palazzo Falson is a typical two-storey medieval palace fashioned on Sicilian examples of its period, and is one of the imposing Palazzi built by the Sicilian, Spanish and local nobility in Mdina. Palazzo Falson also contains a number of features from different subsequent historical periods and styles.
One of the innovate urban planning features introduced in the Baroque period to the Medieval Civitas was the development of public squares. One such space was Archbishop’s Square. The transformation of this square occurred under Grand Master Antonio Manoel de Vilhena, who re-modelled much of Mdina during the 18th century. His vision was materialized by Charles Francois de Mondion, a Parisian architect who is considered to be the mastermind behind the holistic re-structuring of Mdina. The rectangular Archbishop’s Square is emphasized by three prominent buildings and the side of the Cathedral, which incorporates a high-level screen that is pierced by a series of semi-circular headed arches. This square also includes the austere Bishop’s palace built by Lorenzo Gafà in 1717 and the lavish façade of the Cathedral Museum which reflects the style of Southern French architecture
The Domvs Romana allows visitors to experience the private life and habits of an ancient Roman aristocrat. Very little was recovered of the noble Roman town house itself. However, the intricate mosaics which survived for centuries [and the artefacts found within the remains] are testimony to the original richness of this dwelling. The museum serves as a repository for all the Roman artefacts found around the Island.
Apart from showing the complex history of the site, the current museum display is in fact designed to take the visitor through the various aspects of a Roman household- with aspects ranging from the division of roles in a Roman family, right up to fashion, education, entertainment, food and drink.
Mdina Ditch (Il-Foss tal-Imdina)
The Mdina Ditch (Il-Foss tal-Mdina) served as a moat, further adding to the City’s defensive prowess. The Mdina Ditch was restored and officially opened to the general public in 2013.
The Restoration Directorate is officially appointed as the governing body in caring for and maintaining the site.
Howard Gardens is the largest public garden in Malta, acting as a kind of green “layer” between Mdina and its suburbs – Rabat. The gardens were open to the public in 1924- named in honour of the first Prime Minister of Malta under the protectorate of the Colonial Government Joseph Howard. In addition to the cultivated flora and fauna, the gardens are bestowed a number of sculptures – namely a statue of an enamoured couple and a memorial to the victims of World War II.
The Mdina playground (situated outside the Mdina Main Gate), is an extension of Howard Gardens. It is a place of leisure activity for both young and old; a picturesque setting over-looking the Mdina Ditch (il-Foss tal-Imdina) and Mdina’s fortfications. The playground is also known as Colonel J.V. Abela Garden (Ġnien il-Kurunell J.V. Abela)
The Greeks Gate (Bieb il-Griegi or Il-Mina tal-Griegi) is a gate into the fortified city of Mdina. The gate was originally built in the medieval period; its outer portal was built in the Baroque style in 1724 by Charles François de Mondion. Despite this, the rear part of its gate retains its original form, making it one of the few visible remains of Mdina’s medieval walls.
The Greeks Gate is one of two main gates of Mdina- the other being the Mdina Gate. It is located near the southwest corner of the city. A small Greek community once resided close to the gate- hence the name. The Greeks Gate actually consists of two vaulted gateways grafted in front of each other. The inner gate still retains its original medieval features, including a pointed arch. The outer gate consists of a Baroque portal, decorated with various coats of arms and a Latin inscription. The upper part of Greeks Gate contains a mural and oil paintings, one representing the Virgin and Child with Saint Anne and the Trinity, and the other showing the Baptism of Saint Publius by Paul the Apostle accompanied by Luke the Evangelist.