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At the heart of the Maltese and the story of these Islands, is Mdina.  The Silent City.  The city that has witnessed ravage, plundering, earthquakes, rulers from Arabia, from France, from Spain and Romans.  Aristorcracy and noble homes. 

Silent courtyards, with bright orange and lemon trees, speak of Arab lands.  Grand palazzos and strong bright coloured doors protect homes and families whose history goes back for centuries.

The streets bend and intersect to confuse invaders and create a cocoon of shelter an air of mystery.

This is no ordinary city.  From miles around you can see it perched confidently on the hill, with views extending all around the island.   Citta Notabile, Noble City.

Mdina has its place deep in the consciousness of the Maltese.  They may take it for granted, or maybe visit on Sunday for tea and cakes at the renowned Fontanella Tea House but you have only to mention the name and silence and respect ensue.

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Over to neighbouring Rabat and here the mood is busier and brighter.  The people of Rabat are cheerful and friendly.  They are smart and love their family life.  They show off their heritage and have grown accustomed to tourists coming daily to tour the Catacombs and the church of St. Paul.  The 17th century historic house – Casa Bernard is a worthy example of the heritage of this town and island.

And really, the citizens of Rabat cannot complain because they are surrounded by some of Malta’s most beautiful countryside and gardens.  From Buskett Forest and Verdala Castle to the majestic cliffs of Dingli and down to the valleys of Bahrija and the Chadwick lakes, they are spoilt for choice.  Should it be cycling, driving, walking or picnicing?  Or maybe a heritage trail leading to the convents and monastries around the town?  If it were up to St. Dominic, you would certainly not miss a visit to the honeycoloured monastery with its internal garden and restful passages.

But nearby, not far from the noble city of Mdina, is competition!  Mosta!  Another jewel in Malta’s crown and one of the places most dear to the Maltese.  Dedicated to The Assumption of Our Lady, the church in Mosta says its all.  The cost of this splendid building was paid by the peasant farmers and the pitkali - the farmers’ middlemen - of Mosta.  All the villagers gave their labour over a period of thirty years. 

The magnificent dome - the third largest in the world - was constructed without scaffolding.  It seems incredible that Angelo Gatt, the gifted Maltese master-mason who directed the building operation could neither read nor write.

In the sacristy there is an unexploded Italian bomb, which penetrated the dome during World War 2 and reached the crypt. It just perforated the dome while the church was filled with Maltese attending Mass.  Thepeople of Malta attribute the survival  of their beloved bomb and thepeople of Mosta to the intervention of Our Lady.

Home, today, to many foreigners and young couples who seek a house in the “Garden of Malta”, Mosta has regenerated itself and continues to claim its place in Maltese society.

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Millennium Travel
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Triq il-Qaliet
St. Julian's STJ 3223

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