Description Città Notabile (also known as Citta’ vecchia and Mdina) was the old capital of Malta before the arrival of the knights to Malta in 1530. Its landlocked position in the centre of the island and obsolete medieval walls meant that it held very little military advantage for the knights who preferred to settle down inside the harbour close to their fleet of galleys. Little resources were expanded on the improvement of its defences and the town survived the Turkish invasion of 1565 largely because the Turks chose to ignore it. A new lease of life was given to the old city during the reign of Grand Master Martin de Redin who undertook the repairs to the various ramparts and initiated the construction of new fortifications, including a large central bastion on the land front. His death in 1660 brought the project to an abrupt halt while the earthquake of 1693 severely damaged many buildings inside the walls. A true revival of the old city really came with the arrival of French military engineers in the early 18th century, particularly during the reign of Grand Master Manoel de Vilhena and Citta’ Notabile owes its final form, its palaces, fortifications, and Baroque buildings and gateways, to the works undertaken during this period of its history. The works were undertaken by the Order’s military engineer Charles François de Mondion. The last addition to the defences, a bastion erected to the rear of the cathedral, was made in 1739. The drawing shows Citta’ Notabile around the end of the eighteenth century.
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