St. Paul's Cathedral

Mdina, Malta

St. Paul's Cathedral in Mdina was built on the site where governor Publius was reported to have met Saint Paul following his shipwreck off the Maltese coast. According to tradition, the first Cathedral of Malta was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, Mother of God but, having fallen into ruin during the Muslim period, it was rebuilt following the Norman conquest and re-dedicated to St Paul. The old church was modified and enlarged several times.

The building we can see today was designed by the architect Lorenzo Gafa, it was built between 1697 and 1702 to replace a ruined Norman cathedral destroyed by the 1693 earthquake on Malta. Despite this, several artifacts and edifices survived including the painting by the Calabrian artist Mattia Preti depicting the conversion of Saint Paul, a 15th-century Tuscan painting of the Madonna and Child, and frescoes in the apse which illustrate Paul's shipwreck.

The architect Lorenzo Gafa designed the Cathedral in Baroque style. It sits at the end of a rectangular square. The near-square facade is cleanly divided in three bays by the Corinthian order of pilasters. There are two bell towers at the both corners. The plan is a Latin cross with a vaulted nave, two aisles and two small side chapels. The Cathedral has a light octagonal dome, with eight stone scrolls above a high drum leading up to a neat lantern.

One of the main features of the interior is the rich colorful tessellated floor. Many of the furnishings of the cathedral, including the baptismal font and the portal, are carved out of Irish wood.

The cathedral also has a substantial collection of silver plates and coins, and some carvings by the German artist Albrecht Dürer.

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Address

Triq Mesquita, Mdina, Malta
See all sites in Mdina

Details

Founded: 1697-1702
Category: Religious sites in Malta

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Rodica Mirlogeanu (3 years ago)
Rhidz (3 years ago)
Didn’t get to catch the Cathedral in time before closing but the little courtyard square its located at is really nice! Highly worth visiting if you’re already in the area regardless if you intend on going inside or not.
James Jones (3 years ago)
This cathedral is worth the time and few coins to visit and witness its beauty and intricacies. Bring a camera and take the time to read the tablets and postings throughout. Remember to use low voices as this is still an active church.
Big Boss (3 years ago)
Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Paul (Katidral Metropolitan ta' San Pawl), commonly known as St. Paul's Cathedral or the Mdina Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Mdina, Malta, dedicated to St. Paul the Apostle. The cathedral was founded in the 12th century, and according to tradition it stands on the site of where Roman governor Publius met St. Paul following his shipwreck on Malta. The original cathedral was severely damaged in the 1693 Sicily earthquake, so it was dismantled and rebuilt in the Baroque style to a design of the Maltese architect Lorenzo Gafà between 1696 and 1705. The cathedral is regarded as Gafà's masterpiece.
Richard Ryan (3 years ago)
This was one of the first places I visited in Malta, fantastic value for €10, with access to the catercomes and gallery... staff are lovely.
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