Saint Paul`s Cathedral in Mdina is the main and the oldest catholic church in Maltese Diocese. This cathedral, a typical representative of the Baroque style, fascinates and charms both the tourists and the local inhabitants.
The origins of it go back to the 1st century AD when Apostle Paul firstly arrived to Malta. Hel was well-received by the habitants of Malta and converted them to Christianity. In memory of this event a chapel was built in the city of Mdina, not far from the grotto where Paul used to live. In the 12th century the cathedral was erected on the place of the chapel.
After the earthquake in 1693 the cathedral was destroyed completely and rebuilt. A famous Maltese architect Lorenzo Gafa was in charge of building the cathedral. Maltese Earl Rodger de Norman supported the construction financially. In 1702 the Cathedral was consecrated and started working. In 1710 the cathedral was crowned with a huge dome with a lot of decorative elements. It was the dome that brought Lorenzo Gafa worldwide fame thanks to the unusual silhouette and abundance of the decorative elements. In 1950 the dome and some other decorative elements of the cathedral were modernized.
Some unique pieces of art from the cathedral of the 12th century can be found there: the Tuscan painting of the 15th century with Madonna and baby Jesus, the picture by Maltese Baroque artist Mattia Preti “The conversion of Saint Paul” and some frescos depicting the crash of Saint Paul`s ship – all these items survived the earthquake of 1693. After the disaster, when the first cathedral was destroyed and the buried treasure consisting of a lot of precious gold coins was found there and nowadays it is kept in the cathedral.
The cathedral is built in Baroque style and its exterior is very notable because of numerous decorative elements. The clock on the facade consisting of two dials is also worth seeing. The dials show the date and the hour, but, according to a legend, it was designed in such way in order to confuse the devil and to prevent him from entering to the cathedral.
The interior of the cathedral is really fascinating. Some engravings by Albrecht Durer are kept there. Many of the furnishings of the cathedral including the baptismal font were carved of Irish wood. The mosaic floor dedicated to the representatives of Maltese knighthood and aristocracy is also a precious artwork that can be seen here.