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"THINGS TO DO: St. Paul's Cathedral [Mdina]" Malta Things to Do Tip by NoRiskNoFun

Malta Things to Do: 757 reviews and 1,132 photos

  Mdina - St. Paul's Cathedral
by NoRiskNoFun

The skyline of Mdina, with its baroque cathedral, bastions and palaces, is an imposing landmark visible throughout central Malta. The Cathedral is the architectural heart of this elegant, walled city. In fact, the building of the Cathedral (1697-1702) caused a major redesign of the centre of medieval Mdina. Several streets and houses were cleared to create a more open view across a square in front of the Cathedral.

This late 17th century masterpiece of Maltese architect Lorenzo Gafa’ lies on the site of a much earlier Norman church destroyed by a violent earthquake in 1693. According to tradition, that church had been built on the site of the house of Publius, the Roman’s chief man on the Islands who was converted to Christianity by St Paul in A.D. 60.

The interior is lavish and has similarities with St John’s. Here too you find great works by the Calabrian artist and Knight, Mattia Preti. The pavement also comprises marble-inlaid tombstones carrying here though the coats of arms and inscriptions of the bishops of Mdina and other members of the Cathedral chapter.

Between the main altar and the apse is a monumental depiction of The Conversion of St Paul. It was part of the original Norman church, and survived the earthquake. A few other items remains from the old church: the 15th century Tuscan panel painting of the Madonna and Child; the font; the frescoes in the apse depicting St Paul’s Shipwreck; and the old portal, made of carved Irish bog wood, which now serves as a door to the vestry.

The façade is perhaps one of the most imposing yet harmonious of all his baroque churches and a lesson in the use of proportion.

The Cathedral Museum nearby houses a rare collection of coins, silver plate, and religious vestments.

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Apr 22, 2005
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