is Malta's capital. It was built by the Knights of St. John. They
arrived in Malta in 1530. After defeating Grand Turk Suleiman, Pope
Pius V and King Philip of Spain gave financial aid to the Knights
to build the fortress city of Valletta. It is now a World Heritage
City. The scene coming into port through the harbor was spectacular.
Valletta is a walled city with huge stone walls and bastions along
We took a half day tour to visit the old medieval capital of Mdina.
The city is perched on a hill with views of the sea and Valletta
and fortified by huge Arab-built walls. We wandered through the
narrow, winding streets (designed to confuse invaders) looking at
the elaborately decorated aristocratic residences and Baroque style
buildings which were constructed by the Knights of St. John in the
18th century. We visited St. John's Cathedral, home to the Archbishop
our walk through Mdina, we drove to Ta'Quali, a handicraft village
built on a former British Air Force base. We stopped in a few of
the shops and got demos of glass blowing and filigree making.
Our last stop was to the town of Mosta and a visit to the Mosta
Dome Church. It has the 3rd largest unsupported dome in the world.
It is quite beautiful inside with inlaid marble floor and gilded
carved stone flowers set around the dome. It holds up to 10,000
worshippers at a time. A German bomb entered the church through
the dome during WWII and landed in the middle of the church. Miraculously
it did not detonate and none of the 300 people attending the service
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