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St Paul's Cathedral

Of all the churches on the islands, St Paul's Cathedral is the finest and most mature example of Maltese Baroque; not fussy and ornamental, but rather articulate with Roman, Sicilian and Italian influences. From all perspectives this monumental church with its bold austere swathes takes charge: at the screen facade, from a distance, in silhouette and from inside.

Tradition states the cathedral is built on the site of the villa belonging to the Roman governor, Publius, where the shipwrecked St Paul healed Publius' father and converted the grateful governor himself to Christianity. (Publius later became the first bishop of Malta and was martyred in Greece.) The simple 12th C. Norman structure of Count Roger was enlarged in 1419, and
the present cathedral was built following the earthquake of 1693, which destroyed much of southeast Sicily and Malta.

A new cathedral was commissioned and the architect, Lorenzo Gafa, liked the site on the northeast corner of Mdina. The structure was built in five years, and was consecrated in 1697.

St Paul's Cathedral sits on a low podium at the end of the eponymous rectangular square. The near-square facade with its three cleanly divided bays gives it a light but solid air. The Corinthian order of pilasters below the composite ones span the entire facade without interruption, leaving above the two side doors brave expanses of honey-colored masonry. The bell towers, each with six bells, are squat, adding to the facade's heaviness, but with Gafa's deft touch they appear lighter, for the twin clocks nudge into the lower lip of the cornice.

Mdina

Mdina, Cittŕ Vecchia, or Cittŕ Notabile, (English: Notabile, or Imdina) is the old capital of Malta. Mdina is a medieval town situated in the centre of the island. Punic remains uncovered beyond the city’s walls suggest the importance of the general region to Malta’s Phoenician settlers. Mdina is commonly called the "Silent City" by natives and visitors alike.

The history of Mdina traces back more than 4000 years. According to tradition it was here that in 60 AD that the Apostle St. Paul is said to have lived after being shipwrecked on the Islands. Furthermore it is said that St. Paul resided inside the grotto know as Fuori le Mura (outside the city walls) now known as St. Pauls Grotto in Rabat. Lamp lit by night and referred to as “the silent city”, Mdina is fascinating to visit for its timeless atmosphere as well as its cultural and religious treasures.
Mdina has had different names and titles depending on its rulers and its role but its medieval name describe it best – ‘Citta’ Notabile’: the noble city.
It was home then, as now, to Malta’s noble families; some are descendants of the Norman, Sicilian and Spanish overlords who made Mdina their home from the 12th century onwards. Impressive palaces line its narrow, shady streets.(Source: visitmalta)

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Additional Photos by George Rumpler (Budapestman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 8900 W: 3 N: 20435] (82620)
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