This great fountain is situated pretty close to the building called "Casino Notabile" and you will also see it when arriving by public bus from Valetta or when approaching Rabat or Mdina by the hop-on,hop-off-bus.
It was really very interesting for me to walk through the town of Rabat, I saw many great buildings with the kind of balconies that are so typical for Malta. You dont have to search for any special street to walk through, all of the streets in the centre are quite the same and my pics here were taken from the street between St. Pauls cathedral and the Roman Villa.
Casino Notabile is in quite poor condition at the moment, 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.
Mdina, the old walled capital of Malta is a part of Rabat nowadays and it is also its most interesting sight : Mdina is in the geographical centre of the island and as it is situated on top of a small hill you can overlook all of the island and its coast from there, that was quite important in the times crusades and when enemies tried to conquer Malta.
St. Agathas Catacombes are obviously a lot more interesting than the St. Paul's Catacombs because in St. Agathas Catacombes you will also see some great frescoes. It is a pity that I totally missed that due to the fact that I had just a limited time there and our driver of the "Minibus-tour" did not tell us anything, where to go and what to see.
In any case, in St. Agathas Catacombes you need to take a guided tour and the number of daily visitors is also limited in order to keep the climate down there stabile for the fragile frescoes.
This is the most famous mosaique of the Roman Villa: 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.
St. Paul's 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
This is now the 2nd of the large mosaiques in the Roman Villa and it has a special pattern, giving you the feeling to have stones standing out of the floor, although they are not of course. When you enlarge also my extra-photos you will understand what I mean and in the last 2 photos you will also see some other fine examples of Mosaiques dating back to the time of the Roman empire.
Domus Romana / the Roman Villa has an interesting museum with only a few exhibits that were found in various places in Malta.To be honest, you will see similar exhibits in many museums of the world and just for them it is certainly not worth to go to this museum ! The main attraction are the 2 large mosaiques that were found in that very place and the "Roman Villa" was built around of them, using some of the fragments of stones that were found there as well.
The Roman Villa & its great mosaiques were one of the main attractions for me in 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 !
Dominating the centre of Rabat is St Paul's Church. It's reputed to be the first recognised parish church on Malta. Beneath the church is St Paul's Grotto, a place the saint is believed to have spent some time after his shipwreck. In 1990 Pope John Paul II visited the church to pay his respects to St Paul.
These Phoenician catacombs were used by early Christians until the arrival of the Arabs. They were discovered in 1894 & are now open to the public.
The tunnels are very dark & can be quite eerie. The labyrinth of catacombs are numbered, you can hire an electronic guide that'll describe each location.
The adult entrance fee was 5 Euros.
If you are in a hurry or find walking a problem you can take a ride on the Train, It stops just out side Mdinas greek gate (Just near the Roman Villa and Museum) and will take you around Rabat showing you the all the sights.
St Pauls Catacombs are a fascinating labyrinth of 3rd-century AD subterranean tombs and the earliest archaeological evidence of Christianity in Malta.
St. Paul's Catacombs incorporates tombs for more than 1,000 bodies in 2,200 square meters and is the largest tomb complex on malta, Not all of the site is accessible, but enough is open to the public to provide a fascinating look at several different types of tombs.
St Agatha is said to have first prayed and then hidden in these catacombs during the persecution of the Christians by the Roman Emperor Decius in 249 A.D after she had fled from Sicily to escape persecution she found refuge on Malta and spent her days there in the crypt at Rabat before returning to Sicily where on the 5th of February 251, she died in prison as a martyr. The crypt of St. Agatha is cut into the live rock and is an underground basilica, which from early ages was venerated by the Maltese. At the time of St. Agatha's stay the crypt was a small natural cave which later on, during the 4th or 5th century was enlarged and embellished.
The catacombs are especially important for their early christian and medieval frescoes. A characteristic feature of Maltese catacombs are the agape tables carved out of the rock. Here, mourners would hold a wake or farewell meal in honour of the deceased.
The small but packed museum near the entrance displays a varied and interesting collection ranging from coins to Roman, Etruscan and Egyptian artefacts.