I continued my exploration of Mdina, walking down the narrow streets and alleyways. I enjoyed the restaurants, cafes, shopping, and the historical sites. I felt like a big kid in a candy store exploring through this historic treasure. Near the center of Mdina, I finally came to the famous Saint Peter’s Cathedral. It was built on the former site of the Roman Governor Plubius’ residence after he converted to Christianity following Paul’s preaching to him.
The Blessed Virgin, Mother of God Chapel was formerly at this site, but it fell into disuse during the Muslim period. The Chapel was rebuilt during the Norman period and re-dedicated to Saint Paul. It was destroyed in the 1683 earthquake and this ‘new’ St. Paul’s Cathedral was built to replace it. It was designed by Lorenzo Gafa and constructed from 1697 to 1702. Despite the earlier destruction in the 1683 earthquake, some of the historic paintings and frescos were saved and included in the new design.
The Cathedral was designed in the Baroque style and as you can see in the photo below (by Jean-Christophe Benoist), that Gafa did an amazing job creating a beautiful Cathedral. I have seen many Cathedrals and some are a bit “overdone,” but this Cathedral seemed to have a nice balance of beauty, art, and heavenly influence. I’ve left the photo of the ceiling of the Cathedral in larger than normal size so that you can click and zoom on it.
In the courtyard just outside of the Cathedral, I did some people watching and some shopping. I found that the shops near here had the best post card shopping. Inside of one of the post card shops (just off of the left edge of the photo below), I struck up a conversation with a nice Maltese vendor. She answered a lot of my questions about Malta. It seems that both Maltese and English are spoken on the island and most everyone is bi-lingual. A British man joined into the conversation and commented that he wanted to immigrate to Malta because he liked it so much. The Maltese woman asked if he was married and when he said that he was not, she commented that he should find himself a Maltese wife and settle down here.
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