The word Mdina means “city surrounded by walls.” Most cars are banned from entering so it is often referred to as the “Silent City.” The history speaks volumes about Mediterranean civilization. Archeological evidence suggests the first settlement was around 5200 BC. When the Phoenicians arrived in the 7th century BC, they named the island Malat. This translates to “safe haven.” The Romans called it Melite from 218 BC until 870 AD. It was then conquered by Arabs. They built these ramparts and made Mdina the island’s capital city. The Muslims eventually lost control to the Kingdom of Sicily who ruled from 1194 until 1530. Then the Knights Hospitaller from the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem dominated until 1798 when they were attacked by Napoleon’s French troops. In recent history, Malta was part of the British Empire from 1800 until the country’s independence in 1964. If you look closely, you will notice a rectangular indentation in the wall. This was the original entry into Mdina before the current Main Gate was built in the early 18th century.