While visiting Malta for a few days in the Summer of 2016, I tried to get out of Valletta and visit some of the smaller cities and towns of Malta. I tried to pick places that had things that might interest me — such as churches — and then spent time studying the bus schedules to find a way there. Here are a few photos from various places I visited over the course of two days.
I wanted to visit the church at Mosta, which features one of the largest unsupported domes in the world. The church did not disappoint! It dates from the 1830s, but was built with a neo-classical design that makes it look a bit older, almost like the Pantheon in Rome.
During World War II, several German bombs fell on the church dome — two didn’t pierce it, but another did. The bomb fell into the church during a service, yet miraculously failed to explode.
A service was going on while I visited, so I didn’t spend as much time as I might have liked.
I also stopped in Mgarr, where I wanted to visit yet another church with a large dome. I had timed things out so I’d be there during the blue hour, and I was hoping to get some good photos.
I arrived early, and found preparations for a festival underway. A stage was being built in front of the church, so I quickly took a few photos. I decided to head back to Valletta for my night-time photos, as the stage and lights would have ruined the shot I had hoped for. Still, it was a beautiful church. It turns out that it also is not very old — apparently it was completed in 1946!
Mdina is an ancient walled town which served as the island’s capital from antiquity to the middle ages. The walled area is in wonderful shape and you feel as though you have stepped back in time. Not surprisingly, the area has been used as a movie set. Apparently, some of Game of Thrones was filmed here.
Mdina is also known as the Silent City, perhaps because few cars are allowed. There are more horse-drawn carriages on the streets than motorized vehicles.
There are multiple churches in the area, but the most important is St. Paul’s Cathedral. A religious structure has stood on this space for perhaps a millennium, but the current version of the Cathedral dates to around 1700. St. Paul is very important in Maltese history, it is said that he was shipwrecked here, and while on the island converted the inhabitants to Christianity.
Unfortunately, the Cathedral was not open the day I visited. Still, I enjoyed taking photos of the exterior.
Mdina was really a beautiful place. Lots of narrow alleys wandered off in different directions, making it perfect for exploring. I enjoyed walking the streets and taking photos. Here are a few:
I enjoyed these short trips away from Valletta. Anyone interested in religious architecture would probably enjoy Mgarr and Mosta, and Mdina should appeal to just about anyone.