Just outside Mdina lies a village named Rabat. The name Rabat means suburb in Arabic. But why call a city suburb?
Rabat once was the suburb of the old capital city Mdina. Rabat is a city with a rich history that goes back to Roman period.If you would like to know more about the rich history of Rabat, then do read on.
In Rabat there are two sets of catacombs. These catacombs were used during the Roman period on Malta. The first catacombs are St. Agatha’s catacombs. St. Agatha fled from Sicily in the hope to find a safe place in Malta. According to stories St Agatha returned to Sicily after staying in Malta for a few years. Back in Sicily she was arrested and tortured. The second set of catacombs in Malta are the St. Paul’s catacombs. It is said that Apostle St. Paul stayed here. In St. Paul’s catacombs there are a few surviving murals, the only surviving evidence from the late Roman period in Malta. Surprisingly, the Romans appeared to tolerate religious diversity. The St Paul’s catacombs have several Jewish menorah symbols which are carved in the stone.
Under British Rule, late 19th century, Rabat was introduced to social services. The British build the Rabat’s first primary school, upgraded the spring water, started medical and postal services, street lighting and they even introduced a train service between Valletta and Rabat. Furthermore the music bands L’isle Adam and Count Roger were established in this period.
Rabat is distinguished in a new and an old part. The new part of Rabat comes from some major developments the 20th century brought and an increase in population which led to the construction of housing in prestigious areas such as Tal-Virtu and Ghajn Qajjet.
Here are some things you can do and places to visit in Rabat:
- The catacombs
- Domvs Romana (Roman villa)
- St. Paul’s grotto
- Parish church of St. Paul
- Casa Bernard
- Wignacourt museum
- Visit Chadwick lakes
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