Close to the heart of Malta, where it should be its place, is the fortress Mdina, which opens your doors to a completely different world and takes you in a fascinating journey in time where you can hardly get away. Situated on a hill overlooking the modern world, Mdina, a historic jewel founded by the Phoenicians 4,000 years ago, was the capital of ancient Malta until the arrival of the Ioannite knights in 1530.
The thick walls and broad ditch surrounding the city, built during the Arab occupation of the 9th-11th centuries, separate Mdina from Rabat, the city that surrounds it. In order to recreate the medieval atmosphere, the horse-drawn carriages are waiting for you at the entrance to the city, where you can take a tour of the ancient city.In the “Silent City”, as it is known to the locals, nothing has changed for 350 years. You will be fascinated to wander for hours between the debris walls of golden brick, interrupted instead of small windows with lattices or shutters, flower balconies and lanterns. Here’s how time stays in place, and silence and mystery-filled atmosphere make you want to talk like a whisper.
From the main streets with sumptuous buildings, each with a distinct history, the narrow streets, which sometimes cling to a door behind you, find it hard to believe that there is still life. But there is, even a noble one, for this makes Mdina the more special. Beyond the old walls and separated from the world we know, there are only noble families living in Mdina, 80 of them, that is, almost 300 inhabitants, all descendants of some of the oldest families of noblemen in Malta – Normans, Sicilians and Spaniards, have settled on these lands since the 12th century. In fact, Mdina is also called “The City of the Barons.” With luck, on Sunday mornings at Don Mesquita, you can have your coffee with the barons who chew with the new world by browsing the newspapers.
But after a stroll full of history, we are asked to stop for a rustic Mediterranean lunch, and Malta can be a revelation to amateur tourists of new culinary experiences. Although the traditional dish is the rabbit stew (Fenek), Sicilian, Spanish and North African influences have brought seafood, olives, capers, pasta, rice, couscous and an abundance of condiments to the Maltese meals.
We will go to the south of the island, in the small fishing village of Marsaxlokk, where you can feel the full flavor of a fresh fish drawn from the Mediterranean. As soon as you get to the pier, the first instinct will be categorical to remove the camera, because dozens of assorted blue, red, yellow, and white boats are the charm and attraction of the place. The six temples of Haġar Qim On our way to the Blue Grotto, about a kilometer away from the small town of Qrendi, we will visit the Haġar Qim archaeological site, a megalithic complex of six temples built in the Neolithic Age around 3600-3200 BC. hr. That makes Haġar Qim one of the oldest religious sites in the world. The complex was uncovered in 1839, and during the archaeological researches many neolithic female statues were found, which shows that here were rituals for fertility, 5000 years ago. “These temples are made of stone blocks so large that only the giants could have built them,” said Giovanni Francesco Abela, a 17th-century Maltese noble. That’s because the largest of these stones weighs seven tons.
But in order to better understand the value of this place, the entrance museum invites you to a small cinema hall that offers a 4D reconstruction of the temple story, from present to prehistoric times, where you will feel even the storms on your skin who have stumbled over these proofs of ancient civilizations buried for millennia. Nature’s show is in the Blue Grotto A kilometer further south, we meet one of Malta’s most famous tourist attractions – the Blue Grotto, the place where the electric blue of the water leaves you hypnotized. The small Qrendi pier in the cliff offers boat trips to the seven spectacular watersheds for 6 pounds. Although the caves are themselves a natural wonder, the true beauty of the place is revealed in sunny and sunny days, beyond the rocky arcade of 42 meters high. Then magic is happening and you have the chance to see a unique phenomenon – the blue sky is reflected in the white sand beneath the caves, resulting in colored waters in vibrant cobalt and azure shades. In addition, the walls of the caves mirror the orange, purple and green colors of the underwater flora, providing a light and color show.