Running through the Mdina's narrow streets

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Feeling the history and the silence around you while running it's a blessing that some locations have and this particular power is something not to be missed for a runner looking to explore a new place. Mdina is one of those places where you can actually experience it. It might be the soft colours, the narrow streets, the shiny cobblestone pavement and the brownish city walls that creates this magic atmosphere.

Running in Mdina is an experience if you would like to relive history at your own pace

I do believe that these feelings together with the willing to relive and explore different hidden places between Mdina and Rabat gave me the right indication to design a running route that will cover the main attractions that these towns can offer.

The difficulty level is quite easy considering the low elevation (65 metres) and the Mdina guided tour distance will cover around 5 KM.

Panoramic Mdina

 

Mdina along the centuries
Città Notabile, Città Vecchia, Silent City: these are all the names given to Mdina. The nickname 'the Silent City' derives from the fact that cars are not allowed in the town, except for the residents. The other two names come from the italian language while ‘Città Notabile' stands for the noble city, and "Città Vecchia" refers to the fact that Mdina was the old Capital City.


The Mdina's history starts from the Phoenicians time, then also the Romans come to the island while the Saracens who during the 870 AD year attacked the island left more traces, still visible also these days. In fact they give the actual structure to the Mdina streets plan and creating the deep ditch which separates Mdina from Rabat. After the Arabs, the Normans conquered the city and the successive ruling dynasties managed to give to Malta a sort of internal autonomy, until 1530, when the Emperor Charles V gave Malta to the Order of St John. All these events which made the history of this fortified medieval town are visible in every single place where the Mdina Running Tour will take place.


Mdina Running Tour: to give an idea what will be covered

Let's focus on the main attractions will meet along the route starting from the City Gate. It was built under the patronage of Grandmaster de Vilhena of the Order of St John in 1724, and it is considered as an iconic symbol of Mdina. Once passing it, we'll find another important site to discover: the National Museum of Natural History. It was officially opened in 1973 and until then it served as a temporary hospital during the Second World War. Continuing our run will move straight to the main open square of the town and we'll admire other two important sites: St. Paul's Cathedral and the Palazzo Falson.

Palazzo Falson, known also as the "Norman House", dates from 1495 with its facade and double windows. Next to it and in the hearth of Mdina, St. Paul’s Cathedral stands in all its beauty. The Cathedral as it is now has been rebuilt in 1702 after an earthquake happened in 1693. The tradition states that the Cathedral was built on the area where St. Paul converted Publius, the Roman governor, to Christianity.
Moving towards the bastions of Bastion Square, now we'll the chance to enjoy the panoramic view . From here one can view most of Malta, from Paola to Valletta, from Sliema to Mosta with the very visible Rotunda church dome, St Paul’s Bay and Portomaso Tower standing on the coast line.

At this point it is time to leave the city walls getting out from the Greek's Gate. The name is taken by the Greek community that lived in this part of the city around the 16th and 17th centuries. At this stage we'll be in the il-Foss tal-Imdina, the former ditch now converted in a nice garden and then passing the Howard Gardens, named after the first Prime Minister of Malta, we'll move towards Rabat.

Just outside the city walls we'll be running next to the Domus Romana and we will be still able to admire from outside the ruins of this 1st century BC Roman house. Here in the XIX century different artefacts were found such as several coins, amphorae together with well preserved mosaics.
Moving towards the other village called Rabat where through its streets will passy by the main church called St. Paul's and then moving towards the St. Paul's and St. Agatha's Catacombs.

St.Paul’s Catacombs are a typical complex of interconnected, underground Roman cemeteries that were in use around the 7th and 8th AD centuries. The chapel of St Agatha, dated 1693, also very close to the St.Paul’s is a hidden gem to pass by on to way to get back in Mdina. This time we'll enter from another gate and running through the typical narrow streets of the other side of the city and then passing by the Cathedral and going back to the Main Gate, where the running tour started.

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