Malta’s true cathedral at the heart of its ancient capital.
Mdina Cathedral has always been Malta’s cathedral unlike its co-cathedral, St John’s in Valletta, which began life as the church of the Knights of St John. The cathedral here is dedicated to St Paul, Malta’s patron saint. The bible tells us that he was shipwrecked on Malta in AD60 (as depicted on the mural above the altar) and it is said to be on this spot that he healed the father of the Roman governor Publius (later St Publius) who then converted to Christianity. St Publius is meant to be buried beneath the altar.
There has been a cathedral here since before the Knights arrived in Malta, although this one was completed in 1702 after its predecessor was destroyed in an earthquake. Like St John’s, the floor is covered in tombs of coloured marble and you can actually see more of them here than in Valletta because (with fewer visitors) they are not covered up for protection.
The Cathedral Museum is a real hotchpotch: it includes an excellent coin collection covering every administration in Malta from the 4th century BC Carthaginians to the 20th century, as well as church silver, grandmasters’ swords, illuminated manuscripts, paintings (of varying quality) and a set of woodcuts by Albrecht Durer.