The Medieval Mdina Festival 2015
The clop clopping of hooves breaks the quiet which envelopes the silent city, as dawn creeps in slowly, illuminating its winding streets. A lone knight makes his way slowly towards the main square, spying an old peasant woman carrying a wicker basket in one hand and holding a small child playing with a straw-doll in the other. Soon, more sounds intrude upon the morning, as stalls of lace, olive oil and fruit are set up in the market place. A falcon screeches defiance as a juggler starts dancing to the rhythm of a medieval tambourine and the town crier wipes his beard and leaves the tavern, in order to take up his call and announce the opening of Medieval Mdina.
Medieval Mdina is a historical, cultural and fun annual event held in Malta’s old medieval capital city. The two-day festival plunges the entire walled city into an atmosphere straight out of the middle ages. Musicians play in street corners, vendors cry out their wares, noble lords and ladies stroll hand in hand, and the tavern does a roaring trade as people stop a while to have a drink, as they peruse the medieval market. Museums, churches and other historic places are open to all visitors, historical talks and lectures are offered to those interested and there is also a children’s area offering various games and modes of entertainment.
This historical weekend is a way of bringing one of Malta’s most treasured cities back to life, in a display of art, talent and knowledge, as a celebration of the coming of spring.
The history of Mdina, also known as ‘Citta Notabile’ – the Noble City, is a memorable one, going back more than 4,000 years. Mdina is fascinating in that it presents a timeless atmosphere, filled with impressive Baroque palaces, medieval structures and perfect examples of the architectural and artistic mix prevalent from the 12th century onwards.
During the Medieval Mdina Festival, local, as well as foreign groups of aficionados, re-enact day-to-day medieval life, as well as epic battles and skirmishes. Favourite scenes like the medieval tavern, usually to be found in Saint Paul’s Square, which is also the main battle area, as well as armour displays, archery training and competitions, will also be present. Not to mention the impressive falcons, owls and other birds of prey which will be exhibited and left to soar unhindered over the beautiful bastions.
There will be a town crier, a medieval market, parades, flag throwing shows, magic shows, a fire-breathing act, live medieval music with traditional Maltese instruments, as well as a good number of outlets which will be offering special food at reduced prices.
The festival serves as a cultural exposition of local talent, disseminating more knowledge of our cultural heritage through a number of lectures and talks by notable historians such as Dr Vince Zammit, Kenneth Gauci, Liam Gauci, and others, showing that although the festival is mostly a fun weekend for the whole family, it also promotes historical learning and awareness.
Complementing the event, there will also be a Sword and Fantasy Short Film Festival taking place each evening from Friday 17th to Sunday 19th April.
More information can be found here: maltafilmicon.org/Articles.aspx?title=Sword-and-Fantasy-Short-Film-Festival
Heritage Malta will also reduce the entrance price for the Domus Romana and the National Museum of Natural History, which for this occasion will be open for all at €2.
In an interview with MaltaToday, Paul Spiteri, Executive Secretary of the Mdina Local Council, illustrated how this festival’s particularity was that ‘the events won’t just be propped up on a stage, but they will be scattered around in every corner of the city … for example, although we know that the illusionists will be hanging around the market, the artists will be roaming around and sketching or painting different parts of the city, while skirmishes will be taking place all over Mdina.’
In previous years, the festival has attracted a number of artists who put on show their own exhibitions of Maltese bizzilla, bonsai trees and icons on wood, amongst others.
The Medieval Mdina will take place on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th April, from about 10am till 7pm, and it is free of charge!
Who knows what surprises lie in store for us this year at the Medieval Mdina?