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Mdina is one of the most popular places to visit in Malta thanks to its extensive history, walkable streets, and gorgeous architecture & views. Most visitors to Mdina pass through the beautiful Mdina Gate to gain entry to the city. The Mdina Gate has existed since the 17th century & was featured in Game of Thrones. When I went to Malta, I was excited to see a famous filming location for the show & learn more about it.
The History of Mdina Gate
The historic city of Mdina was constructed when Muslims resettled Malta in the 11th century. Thanks to its defensible position high in the center of the country, Mdina was the capital of Malta during the Middle Ages.
Over the centuries, the city & the country changed hands many times, with new rulers adding their own buildings, defenses, and architectural styles. During the medieval period, Mdina had three gates separated by courtyards. However, Grand Master António Manoel de Vilhena ordered a reconstruction and renovation of Mdina in 1722.
Along with this restoration of Mdina & its fortifications came a new main gate & bridge leading into the city. The gate would become most commonly known as the Mdina Gate, also called the Vilhena Gate.
This new gate was constructed in 1724 and was designed by French architect Charles François de Mondion. The Mdina Gate was constructed in the Baroque style.
Notable elements of the Vilhena Gate include double pilasters, a Latin inscription, Grand Master António Manoel de Vilhena’s and the city of Mdina’s coats of arms, and a trophy of arms.
The back side of the gate has reliefs of Malta’s patron saints, St. Publius, St. Agatha, and St. Paul.
Today, the Mdina main gate sees hundreds of thousands of visitors pass through it yearly. It’s a popular photo opportunity, especially thanks to its 2008 restoration and being featured in Game of Thrones.
Mdina Gate in Game of Thrones
Mdina Gate famously appears in Season One, Episode Three of Game of Thrones, titled “Lord Snow.” The gate represents one of the gates of King’s Landing on the show.
Lady Catelyn Stark arrives at King’s Landing with Ser Rodrick Cassel in one scene. Later, Mdina Gate can be seen again as Catelyn Stark & Ned Stark talk & say their goodbyes. You can watch both scenes below.
Several more Game of Thrones scenes were also filmed in Malta. Other famous Maltese landmarks in Game of Thrones include Pjazza Mesquita, Fort Manoel, & the Azure Window, a natural arch that formerly existed in Gozo before being destroyed in a storm.
The video below includes a helpful shot-by-shot comparison of several Mdina Game of Thrones scenes & real life.
If you are visiting Malta, be sure to take a day trip to Mdina. You can get there by public transportation, plus Mdina tours are also available.
If you’re looking for a place to stay, check out these Malta hotels.