Mosta - a giant cathedral for just 19.000 inhabitants
is the title of my Mosta-page and in fact this church looks extremely oversized: The cuppola of the Rotunda is the world's forth largest unsupported dome with an internal diameter of 37.2 metres. You will be able to enter the church freely and without restrictions, except in the time between noon and 03.00pm, when the church will be closed.
The Bomb Miracle of April 9, 1942happened in Mosta when 3 bombs were thrown down from german airplanes, and the first 2 bombs could not destroy the cuppola, but simply bounced off and the 3rd bomb pierced the dome, it fell on the floor of the Rotunda, BUT did not explode. About 300 people were trying to find shelter in the Rotunda at that time, but nobody was hurt.
You can still see a replica of that bomb in the sacristy, it was a 200kg bomb, see it in my last picture !.
Read more about this interesting town in my Mosta-page !
Casino Notabile in Rabat
was in quite a poor condition when I saw it , but a restauration is going on, I took my pics in Nov. 2010 and I hope it will be finished untill I return again to Malta. This building was constructed in 1887 and it once used to be a club for the High Society & celebrities living in Mdina and Rabat at that time.
Casino Notabile is close to Howard Gardens, where all of the bsues drop their passengers visiting Mdina and Rabat. Walking-distance from there to Casino Notabile is not even 3 minutes !
St. Paul's Catacombs in Rabat are in a distance of about 800 meters from St. Pauls church in Rabat and these catacombs are a wide labyrinth of corridors and tombs under the ground. Photography is allowed there, but only without a flash and tripod, well at least next to the entrance that was no problem and for the rest you will need a very good lense in order to be able to take photos. I was in a hurry, so I did just explore some of the first chambers, you really might get lost here without a map or without a guide.
St. Paul's Catacombs are open :
daily from 09.00am till 05.00pm
last admission: 04.30pm !
except December 24th, 25th and 31st
January 1st and Good Friday.
the entrancefee is 5 euros
St. Paul's Catacombs in Rabat are in a walking-distance of at least 15 minutes from the place, where the buses unload their passangers when visiting Mdina and Rabat.
St. Paul's church & GrottoSt. Paul's church in Rabat was built on top of the grotto, where the holy apostle Paulus was able to heal a lot of local people from various illnesses, according to the old ledgends. The church itself might also be worth to take a look inside for some interesting frescoes and great decorations.
Pope John Paul II also came to this church and Grotto in order to pray, when he visited Malta.
You can enter this Grotto free of charge, just go inside the church of St. Paul and from there you walk down the steps to the Grotto.
St. Paul's church & Grotto is in walking-distance of about 5-8 minutes from the place in Rabat, where the buses will stop for your visit of Rabat and Mdina.
The Roman Villa & its great mosaiques are just a few meters from the medieval townwalls of Mdina and are one of the main attractions for me in the area of Mdina & Rabat. You will see some mosaiques at the place, where the Romans had made them plus several exhibits of roman times that were taken from other places to this small museum.
Entrancefee was 6 euros and photography is no problem there !
The most famous mosaique of the Roman Villa shows a bowl and 2 doves plus an excellent example of a three-dimensional mosaique around of it, just click also on my extra photos and you will look into a labyrinth that looks really like beeing 3-dimensional.
On the total you have to calculate a minimum of 10-15 min for this museum, its main attractions are without doubt these large mosaiques.
It is certainly the best to have plenty of time for this museum, BUT it seems to be neclected by the organized tourbuses and the time you might spend there will be missing from your time in Mdina and Rabat.
The aviation-museum of Ta'Qali might be of interest for you, when you are interested in technical things. The museum is in a distance of about 30-40 min to walk from Mdina and Rabat and it is really worth a visit in my opinion! The hop-on bus goes there before they take you to Rabat,but there will be a public bus there as well.
The entrancefee was 5 euros and I saw some really interesting exhibits there ! At the moment (Nov.2010) they are building a new hall that should be finished in 2011 maybe.
On our hike from the Dingli Cliffs to the bus stop towards Mdina we also took the chance to visit Misrah Ghar il-Kbir, which is better known as "Clapham Junction".
It is a prehistoric site with cart ruts which probably date back to about 2000 before Christ. The real origin of these ancient trackways is not really known.
The name Clapham Junction was given to the site by an Englishman, as the tracks reminded him on the London railway station of the same name.
Misrah Ghar il-Kbir (Clapham Junction) is situated somewhere between the St. Mary Magdalene Chapel (Dingli Cliffs) and the Buskett Gardens. The site is signposted, but still it needs some searching to find the site. The next bus stop towards Mdina is near the Verdala Palace on top of the Buskett Gardens.
We combined our daytrip to Mdina, with a visit of the famous Dingli Cliffs. They are the steepest cliff formation on Malta, reaching heights of up to 253 m from sea level. It is usually very windy in this area.
Before we started our hike along the cliffs, we took a drink in the Bar and Restaurant Bobbyland, which is the only restaurant along the cliff road.
Near the highest point of the cliffs the St. Mary Magdalene Chapel can be found. It was built in 1646
The Dingli Cliffs are located only about 20 Minutes by bus south of Mdina. Bus #81 serves the route between Mdina and the Dingli Cliffs at least every 20 Minutes. Please note that the route near the Cliffs is served in a circle, which means to get to the cliffs and to leave them is the bus in the same direction. A single ticket costs 0,47 Euro (November 2010).
The city of Rabat just borders with Mdina on its southern side, so the cities are usually visited together. The name Rabat is derived from the Semitic word for suburb.
One of the highlights of Rabat is the Baroque style St. Paul's Church, which dates back to the 17th century.
It stands above a grotto St. Paul is said to have taken refuge after his shipwreck on Malta.
Rabat's St. Paul's Church is located at the St. Paul's Square right in the centre of Rabat. It is only about 15 Minutes on foot from Mdina's Man Gate.
Some of the houses in Mdina are, in fact, very nearly palaces; at least, behind their plain limestone walls they once housed the most wealthy nobles of Malta . Rather like the Florentine palaces, the rather plain exteriors give little indication of the luxury which may lie within. However, there is the odd clue; the rather elaborate door knocker in the photo suggests a little more than the average income.....and there are more to find.
Now this is I call a missing opportunity, this must be a very old silk market and no business done here probably for years, but too bad it is total closed and not accessible to who ever might be interested.
Watch out for the elaborate door knobs on certain houses, palaces, restaurants etc. They're usually overlooked by tourists. This particular doorknocker is on a red door just before you reach Bastion Square.
All towns in Malta & Gozo are administered by a ‘local council’. Its’ role is to help the government to decentralise power and also helping the general public in their daily needs. Other tasks of a council is to modernise and to keep clean the town.
I think many people might ignore Rabat, Mdinas more built up neighbour It's where the busses stop or you park your car for visiting Mdina, but it's more than just that. There's plenty to see in Rabat too - including of course views of Mdina from the outside! There's also the church, grotto & catacombs of St Paul and the catacombs of St Agatha, as well as more bars and cafes than in Mdina. Spend an couple of hours in Rabat.
It is really worth it taking a 'walking-tour' (as driving is not allowed inside the city when you are not a resident) of Mdina and discover the medieval catheral, library etc.