An age of chivalry
Mdina was inhabited and possibly first fortified by the Phoenicians around 700 BCE. Phoenicians called it Maleth. The region benefits from its strategic location on one of the island’s highest points and at maximum distance from the sea. Under the Roman Empire, Malta became a Municipium and the Roman Governor built his palace in Mdina. Tradition holds that the Apostle St. Paul resided in the city after his historical shipwreck on the islands. Much of its present architecture reflects the Fatimid Period which began in 999 AD until the Norman conquest of Malta in 1091 AD. The Normans surrounded the city with thick defensive fortifications and widened the moat. The city was also separated it from its nearest town, Rabat.
Malta passed to the Order of Knights of the Hospitallier of St John of Jerusalem in 1530 AD. Mdina hosted the public ceremony in which each Grand Master swore an oath to protect the Maltese Islands and the rights of his subjects. A strong earthquake in 1693 AD led to the introduction of Baroque design within the cityscape. The Knights of Malta rebuilt the cathedral, to the designs of Maltese architect Lorenzo Gafa. Palazzo Falzon, the Magisterial Palace and major restoration works are other projects undertaken by the Knights.
Another great Event in Malta – the Mdina Festival
The Medieval Mdina Festival will be organised for the fifth consecutive year in the streets of Mdina. The Festival will be held between the 3rd and 4th May 2014. During this two day event there will be re-enactments by foreign and local groups, Medieval Music, Sbandieratori, Illusionist, Jester, Falconry and birds of prey, Lectures, Concerts, Food & Drinks, Medieval Market, Medieval Kitchen and Children’s Area.
The popularity of this Festival is evident from the number of visitors in previous years. The request from a good number of foreigners and Travel Agents proves that this festival is now popular as well with foreign enthusiasts. Some Tour Operators also advertise the Festival in their brochures. During the Festival the participants will perform all day long in various corners and squares of Mdina. Exhibits will include battles, skirmishes, re-enactments of scenes from the Medieval Period,
like the Town Crier, a Slave Market, a re-enactment of a Medieval Kitchen, Sword Fighting, Archery, Medieval Tavern, Magic Shows, Live Music, Birds of Prey flights, Parades, Flag Throwing shows, and spontaneous re-enactments.
The festival serves as a cultural exchange between local talents and foreign groups, disseminating the cultural heritage of the Medieval Times. It is also a good educational exercise to teach both children and adults the history of the City of Mdina. During the festival all the Tourist Attractions extend their opening hours and offer special reduced prices. Food and drinks will be in abundance during the Festival and a good number of outlets will offer medieval food on in their menus during those days.
As it is the smallest Local Council on the Island, the Mdina Local Council requires a lot of support to organise such a significant event. Indeed the festival is supported by a number of Goverment Departments; residents and the local Business Community, particularly the SMEs present in Mdina.This assistance takes several forms, ranging from advertising to direct participation. Indeed, some companies set up stands exhibiting their products, and are directly involved in exchanges with similar international exhibitors. This gives the festival another dimension, that of a promoter for exchange of ideas amongst other business communities.
The Grand Hotel Excelsior offers you great insight on things to do in Malta. Visit the website of this superior 5 star hotel in Malta and stay updated with events taking place around Malta.
Photos courtesy of www.viewingmalta.com.