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The original capital of Mdina was a fortified city on a hill. Take one of the wonderful Malta buses to Rabat, get out, walk across the bridge adjacent to the Howard Gardens, and you're straight through the walls of this mediaeval city which is located in the centre of the island. Although inhabited, silence reigns supreme in Mdina: hence its name: the 'Silent City'. The Main Gate to the City was erected in 1724 by Grand Master de Vilhena, replacing an earlier drawbridge gate the outline of which, now walled up, is still visible some metres away to the right of the present gate. It is reached through a narrow stone bridge, over a moat dug out by the Arabs, and decorated with stone trophies of arms supported by lions - the lion forms part of Grand Master Vilhena's escutcheon.
On the outside are a Latin inscription giving the date and some details on the new gate's erection, a trophy beautifully carved in stone and decorated with martial and triumphal symbols and with the Grand Master's arms on white marble, and on top the coat-of-arms of the city of Mdina and again that of Vilhena. On the inside the Latin inscription commemorated Antonio Inguanez who in 1428 quelled a rebellion as well as his coat-of-arms.
Bas-relief carvings of stone recall the patron saints of the city: St.Paul, St.Publius and St.Agatha. A Roman headless marble statue, now in the Museum of Roman Antiquities, was once encased in the wall of the main entrance.

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Additional Photos by Leonor Kuhn (leonorkuhn) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3173 W: 205 N: 3259] (16237)
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