The walled city of Mdina served as Malta’s capital until 1530 when the Order of the Knights of St John arrived in Malta and the administrative center of the island was moved to Birgu. Nowadays Mdina has only 300 citizens and is known by the nickname Silent City. The city retains much of its medieval features and it’s not hard to see why it was chosen for a couple of Game of Thrones locations.
Only residents’ cars are allowed inside the city walls. It’s easy to see why, as the narrow and twisting streets are not exactly suited for driving. The streets were built that way for a purpose, since avoiding straight lines made it much harder for attacking enemies to aim with a bow and arrow. Luckily it only takes about 5 minutes to walk from one side of the citadel to the other, so exploring all of Mdina in a day or even half is easy and it is a popular day-trip destination. In addition to the filming locations, there are several things to see and much to explore. The views from the city’s walls are worth the visit alone.
Seen on screen: Season 1, episode 3. Gate of King’s Landing
The city’s baroque main gate, lined with statues of growling lions instantly transports you back to a bygone world. The gate is also easily recognizable to any Game of Thrones fan. It is through this imposing gate that Catelyn Stark and Ser Rodrick Cassel ride into King’s Landing in episode 3 of the first season, “Lord Snow”. Later in the same episode, Catelyn and Ned Stark say goodbye – for the last time as it turns out – just inside the gate.
Seen on screen: Season 1, episodes 3 & 5. Littlefinger’s brothel
This small square in the heart of Mdina is home to Littlefinger’s brothel. It is here Catelyn Stark hides out during her time in King’s Landing and Ned Stark comes to find her in the third episode, “Lord Snow”. Later on in the first season, in the fifth episode “The Wolf and the Lion”, Jaime Lannister and his men attack Ned, leaving all of his men dead and him wounded in the leg.
There’s more to Mdina than just Game of Thrones locations. We were on a pretty tight schedule on our visit, but still had time to explore the town a little bit. With a few more hours to spare, you could see a lot more.
St Paul’s Cathedral located on the main square of Mdina is the most popular attraction. We only had time to admire it from the outside, but if the pictures are anything to go by, the inside is definitely worth a visit. Just inside Mdina Gate, you can find the National Museum of Natural History and the same building – Vilhena Palace – also houses Mdina’s Tourist Information Office. Here you can even see a short introduction film of the filming locations inside Mdina. And, if you’re feeling the need for coffee or getting peckish, consider stopping at the Fontanella Tea Garden. In addition to refreshing beverages and delicious cakes, you can enjoy gorgeous views of Malta from the restaurant’s terrace.
For even more to see and do in Mdina and indeed all over the Maltese islands, check out the official website of Visit Malta.
This is a collaboration post: Our Game of Thrones adventure in Malta was done in collaboration with Visit Malta but the tips, experiences, and opinions are all our own!