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Mdina



Mdina Ċitta Vecchia, photo courtesy of Bay Retro.
Mdina Ċitta Vecchia, photo courtesy of Bay Retro.
Plans of the old (Left) and new (Right) Mdina cathedral.
Plans of the old (Left) and new (Right) Mdina cathedral.
The building, erected during the Norman period, (according to tradition on the site of the house of Publius the first Bishop), suffered considerable damage in the earthquake of lst January 1693. Rebuilt by Lorenzo Gafa' it reached its completion in 1702. 
An impression of the Old Mdina Cathedral
An impression of the Old Mdina Cathedral
The Norman Medieval Cathedral dating back to the 13th century was the only large church on the island for about 300 years and according to tradition was built on the same site of where St. Publius, the first Bishop of Malta, used to reside. The Old Cathedral had reminiscent of gothic and romanesque medieval architecture. 
The Mdina Museum Station
The Mdina Museum Station
In the background of this picture the bastions of Mdina can be seen. It was on Wednesday, 28th February that the first official train left the Valletta station for Notabile (Mdina). Money was always a problem and in 1890 it became clear that the Malta Railway Company Ltd. was bankrupt. The line was closed on 1st April 1890. The railway had operated for only seven years. 
Uprising in Mdina
Uprising in Mdina
The uprising of the Maltese against the French at Mdina, on 2nd September 1798. The French carried out a number of reforms. However a number of their measures caused resentment among the Maltese and on the 2nd September 1798 the Maltese rose against the French. Within the space of a few hours Mdina and the whole of the countryside fell into the hands of the Maltese. Valletta, Floriana and the Forts Manoel and Tigne remained in the hands of the French, who were besieged by the Maltese. The French Blockade lasted two years.
Entrance to Mdina
Entrance to Mdina
A 1950s postcard of the iconic Mdina Gate built by de Mondion as part of the rebuilding of Mdina following the 1693 earthquake - Photo Courtesy Bay Retro. 
Entrance to Mdina before Howard Gardens were laid out
Entrance to Mdina before Howard Gardens were laid out
An old postcard showing gate and bastions as well as the area now occupied by Howard Gardens. Opened to the public in 1924 and situated just outside the walls of the Silent City of Mdina, Howard Gardens offer somewhere to relax after exploring the city.  They were named after Joseph Howard MBE, the first Prime Minister of Malta under Colonial Government. Photo courtesy of John Portelli.
View of Mdina 1950s
View of Mdina 1950s
1950s view of Mdina from a wartime searchlight emplacement at Mtarfa. WWII searchlights formed part of a system of aircraft detection. Thus, these tracked could track bombers, indicating targets to anti-aircraft guns and night fighters and dazzling crews
Archbishop Michael Gonzi participates in a religious procession at Mdina
Archbishop Michael Gonzi participates in a religious procession at Mdina
Count Sir Michael Gonzi, (Maltese Mikiel Gonzi) (13 May 1885 – 22 January 1984) was Roman Catholic Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Malta in 1944. He had also been Bishop of Gozo in 1924 and an elected Labour Senator in the Malta Legislative Assembly
International Eucharistic Congress held in Mdina on April 1913
International Eucharistic Congress held in Mdina on April 1913
The 24th International Eucharistic Congress held in Malta between the 23th & 27th April 1913 was the last of its type. It was presided by the Pope's Cardinal Legate D. Ferrata (Pref. S.C. Sacr.) who was ferried to Malta from Syracuse by HMS Hussar, leaving Sicily at 10am and entering the Grand Harbour at 4pm sharp. 

The first International Eucharistic Congress was held at Lille, France on the 21st June 1881 following an idea conceived by Bishop Gaston de Ségur. It is a gathering of clergy, religious, and laity from a wide area to bear witness to the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, this being a crucial dogmatic landmark of the Roman Catholic Faith.  A congress typically involves several large open-air Masses, adoration of the Eucharist (Blessed Sacrament), a solemn procession and other devotional ceremonies held over a number of days.
A rare engraving of French flags flying over Mdina
A rare engraving of French flags flying over Mdina
The French domination of the Maltese islands was short and turbulent. Their arrival in 1798 had promised otherwise since Napoleon and his troops were initially welcomed by the Maltese. Within three months of the French take-over, the Maltese revolted and forced the occupiers to withdraw behind the fortifications of Valletta and the Three Cities. They remained there until September 1800 when they capitulated to the British forces who had been called in to assist the Maltese in gaining their freedom. In this engraving it could be seen on the right possibly revolting Maltese besieging Mdina from the French.
View of Mdina as seen from Rabat
View of Mdina as seen from Rabat
Mdina and Rabat were once inside the same defensive walls but got separated by the Arabs.  For reasons of defence, they separated Mdina from its nearby suburb, Rabat, by a deep moat, and surrounded the hill-top section of the city with stringer walls and defence towers. Rabat actually means “suburbs”, which is the role of this now more modern city also rich in history and where you should go for a quiet walk in its museums, gardens and churches. 
An old photo of Mdina's Cathedral and St. Publius Suqare
An old photo of Mdina's Cathedral and St. Publius Suqare
The Mdina Cathedral during the British rule in the early 20th century with only a few early cars can be noticed parked just in front of the Cathedral. For more information about the Mdina Cathedral have a look at our article: http://www.culturemalta.org/91/186/Mdina-Cathedral
The 'ċuqlajta' in Mdina Cathedral belfry
The 'ċuqlajta' in Mdina Cathedral belfry

On Maundy Thursday, the Church bells stop ringing as a sign of mourning and the iċ-ċuqlajta (clapper or ratchet) takes over - especially on Good Friday morning.The ċuqlajta is an instrument which on the Maltese Islands has very strong associations with Holy Week. Iċ-ċuqlajta encompasses a large number of different shapes and sizes of clappers and ratchets which produce their sound in different ways. Most are made totally of wood but a few are made of wood and metal or even out of Arundo donax reeds. Its particular sound - which is that of its wooden paddles banging together - can be heard when one is doing one's seven visits. Some of these instruments are played - the larger ones - in the belfry and others, which are smaller and hand-held, directly in the church. There are about forty of the larger instruments in Malta, both electrically-driven and manual types and more in Gozo.

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