Places of interest
St. Paul's Cathedral
Palazzo Falzon (Norman House)
Tales of a Silent City
Natural History Museum
Mdina Dungeons
Carmelite Church & Convent
Mdina Experience
Medieval Times

St. Paul Cathedral

The devastating earthquake of 1693 almost totally destroyed Mdina's old cathedral. The original cathedral dated back to the 13th century and can be seen in two of Matteo Perez d'Aleccio's frescos in the Grand Masters' Palace in Valletta . Less than 10 years after its collapse, a new baroque church had risen in its place.

The cathedral was designed by the well-known Maltese architect, Lorenzo Gafa. By this time he had already designed several churches in Malta and was at the height of his career. The perfectly proportioned façade and the dynamic dome (by far his boldest and arguably the finest in Malta ) make this the most impressive of all his churches. The work took just five years to complete and a number of houses were demolished at the same time to make way for a pjazza appropriate to the size and splendour of the church.

Inside, the immediate impression is one of grandeur. Though not quite as rich as St John's Co-Cathedral in Valletta , it is nevertheless reminiscent of that church in the gilded carvings, the ornamental side chapels and the paintings that adorn the vault, apse and chapels. Many of the paintings and carvings illustrate scenes from the life of St Paul ; the finest is Mattia Preti's mural of The Shipwreck of St Paul, decorating the apse. This was one of the few treasures in the old church that survived the earthquake.

Mdina Cathedral Museum

Treasures salvaged from the original earthquake cathedral are now housed in a splendid baroque palace which once served as a Diocesan seminary. The collection of paintings, prints, woodcuts and old master drawings is the legacy of Count Saverio Marchese (1757 - 1833), a wealthy patron of the arts. Particularly fine among the works of art are the woodcuts by Durer, the engravings by Rembrandt and the 14th-century St Paul Polyptych which once adorned the high altar of the old cathedral. Here St Paul , enthroned in majesty, is surrounded by graphic depictions of episodes from his life. Among other museum exhibits are finely illustrated choir books, elaborate vestments, silver plate and a coin collection spanning over 2,000 years, including a complete set of Roman coins minted in Malta and Gozo. The old refectory of the seminary has been preserved, as has the charming 18th-century octagonal chapel.