Enjoying the Mdina Ditch Gardens
Mdina, also known as the Silent City, served as Malta's capital city from antiquity to the medieval times. When the Order of St John arrived in 1530 Birgu became the administrative centre of the island. Valletta is Malta's capital city since 1571.
As you might already know, Mdina is a fortified medial town enclosed in bastions strategically located on a hill in the centre of Malta. It is one of the top places to visit in Malta for many reasons. Once you walk in through the Mdina Main Gate you will find yourself going back it time few hundred years. It is a mixture of Norman and Baroque architecture with romantic narrow streets. No cars are allowed in, except the limited number of residents, so the city offers relaxing and pretty quiet atmosphere.
Mdina is a great place to visit and it is on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, but I would like to also highlight the restored Mdina Ditch Gardens.
Mdina was first inhabited around 700 BC by the Phoenicians. As I already mentioned Mdina is situated on the highest point of the island benefiting from its good location far away from the sea. And after Normans surrounded the city with its thick defensive fortifications and widened the moat around Mdina, the city became impregnable.
It's hard to believe that Mdina Ditch used to be home to approximately 300 trees, mainly citrus trees, olive trees, and cypress trees that were removed and carted away during regeneration process. On that occasion the bastions were also restored and the citrus grove was replaced by a severe mix of lawn, stone paving, and saplings in pots.
But I have to say it's nice and neat now and the restored bastions are now much more visible. Also the gardens are far more accessible with a lift leading down to them from the Mdina's car park. There are also plenty of wooden benches for you to enjoy and rest your feet a little.
I really like the simplicity and symmetry of the Mdina Ditch Gardens. It's really nice to look at and it was very enjoyable to be here, to walk around and admire the great restoration work that has been done in the past years. I think it added to the Mdina's charm.
And here is Mdina's Main Gate! Doesn't it just look fabulous? This is the main gate into the fortified city and it was built in the Baroque style in 1724. The gate was restored in 2008 and it is one of the main tourist attractions of Mdina. One can also recognize Mdina Gate from the American fantasy drama television series - Game of Thrones. In the third episode of the first season of Game of Thrones Mdina Gate was representing King's Landing Gate when Catelyn and Ser Rodrik Cassel rode into King's Landing through the gorgeous Mdina Gate to investigate the attack on Bran.
Did you know that if you keep on walking in the Mdina Ditch Gardens you will actually get outside of Mdina's fortifications and get this gorgeous view of the island? Well, until last Saturday I had no idea that this was even there! How stunning!
The views are absolutely amazing! There is a large terrace that offers plenty of space for everyone. I wasn't sure what to admire first, the fortifications or the view of the island? I have to say that the restoration and preservation works are fantastic I was blown away!
Please, next time you come to visit Mdina or Rabat, spare half an hour or an hour to walk through the Mdina Ditch Gardens. I think you will be presently surprised.
Below you can see another entrance to the Mdina Ditch Gardens. It is situated just next to the Mdina main car park and there is also a lift, which makes the access to the garden even easier.
It is pretty straight forward to find the Mdina Ditch Gardens, but just in case, here is the exact location. I hope you enjoyed another of my Maltese adventures and you will add this to you list of places to visit in Malta. And how many of you that actually live in Malta have been here already? Hands up! :-)