City Gate of Mdina
Mdina City Gate
In the Middle Ages the gate existed of three gates behind each other with court-yards. The entrance gate was called Prima Porte Principale of the Porta di Santa Maria and it was decorated with the emblem of Sua Cesarea Majestati.
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A barbican was built in 1448 which was demolished in 1551 because this watch tower was not up to the expectations anymore.
The present gate , as we can see it nowadays, was built in 1722 by the order of Grandmaster António Manoel de Vilhena.
The old gates and the court-yards have been demolished. The court-yards have been replaced by Palazzo Vilhena. The tower (Turre Mastra ) was replaced by Torre del Standardo in 1725.
The present tower is built in baroque style and designed by the French architect Charles Francois de Mondion.
Above the gate is an inscription in Latin:
ANTIQUISSIME HUJUS URBIS, QUAM PATRES DIXERE NOTABILEM
QUÆ DIVI PAULI PROVIDO NAUFRAGIO FIDEM EDOCTA
PRIMUM PRÆSULEM DIVUM PUBLIUM PATRITIUM HABUIT
D:ANT: MANOEL DE VILHENA MM EGREGIUS ET PIISSIMUS PRINCE-PS
IN HONOREM APOSTOLI EJUSQ. DISCIPULI, AMORE-M ET TUTELAM POPULI
MUNIMENTA PENE COLLAPSA RESTAURAVIT, ET AUXIT
ANNO SAL: MDCCXXIV PRINCIPATUS SUIII
IN THIS VERY OLD CITY, CALLED (CITTA) NOTABILEM BY OUR ANCESTORS, THE CAPITAL OF THE ISLAND
WHERE ST. PAUL was SHIPWRECKED AND WHERE THE FIRST BISHOP OF THE ISLAND, ST. PUBLIUS
TAUGHT RELIGION AND HAD HIS CHAIR.
DON ANTONIO MANOEL DE VILHENA, GRANDMASTER, A FAMOUS AND VERY DEVOTED PRINCE
IN HONOUR OF THE DISCIPLE OF THE APOSTLE AND FOR THE LOVE OF THE POPULATION,
ALMOST ALL THE FORTIFICATIONS HAD COLLAPSED, RESTORED AND MADE STRONGER,
IN THE YEAR OF THE REDEMPTION 1724, IN THE THIRD YEAR OF HIS RULING.
On the back of the gate are three statues on the left side is St. Publius, in the middle is St. Paul, who is also the Patron Saint of Malta and on the right Agatha of Catania, Sicily.
The Mdina Gate was restored in 2008.
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