Mdina Cathedral and Museum A masterpiece by famous Maltese Architect Lorenzo Gafa
A masterpiece by famous Maltese Architect Lorenzo Gafa
A definite must see when visiting Mdina, the Mdina Cathedral is dedicated to St. Paul – the most venerated saint on the Maltese Islands.
The cathedral you see today was built to replace an earlier one which came down with an earthquake in 1693.
The “new” cathedral is much larger than the earlier one.
The local authorities commissioned one of Malta’s finest architects at the time, Lorenzo Gafa to design the cathedral.
Although it’s known as his absolute masterpiece, sadly he never saw it finished because he died before it was inaugurated in 1702.
Unlike St John’s Cathedral in Valletta which essentially celebrates the Knights’ vanity and pompous lifestyles, the cathedral in Mdina pays homage to famous Maltese bishops.
The 134 marble tombstones found in the nave are of venerated clerics. The six side chapels are quite modest and simple.
At St. Paul’s you can also see two beautiful large paintings from Mattia Preti, namely the Conversion of St Paul (altarpiece) and the Shipwreck of St Paul.
Just across the road is the Cathedral Museum.
The museum is housed in the former Diocesan Seminary which was built in 1733-40.
The collection of artworks and relics in the museum is rich and impressive.
Catholic art dominates the museum.
Something to look out for are large Choral Books from 1576 which open to the size of a small table.
Some highlights of the museum include a captivating series of 53 woodcuts and copperplates by Albrecht Durer, engravings by Rembrandt, an impressive coin collection spanning over 2,000 years and documents from the time of the Inquisition!
Something else to look out for in the museum is a fourteenth century St. Paul Polyptych by Luis Borrassa which once adorned the high altar in the cathedral.
Mdina Cathedral and Museum
Location: Archbishop Square, Mdina Malta.
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday from 9.30 am till 4.30 pm. Saturdays from 9.30 am till 3.30 pm. Closed on Sundays and Public Holidays.
Entrance Fee: Euro 2.50 (for the cathedral and museum).
Telephone: 21 454697