• 09.June 2009
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Rabat can lay claim to the origins of Maltese Christianity. Beneath St Paul’s Church is the Grotto of St. Paul, where, according to tradition, the Apostle Paul lived for three months after being shipwrecked on the Islands in A.D. 60. Over the centuries, many religious orders have established themselves within Rabat. Franciscans, Dominicans and Augustinians still flourish here in their spacious monasteries. Rabat was a large provincial township, part of the Roman city of Melita. The Roman wall extended to where the town centre lies today. The sites and the archaeological relics found here testify to the town’s importance during the Roman period. The Museum of Roman Antiquities, or Roman Villa, near Mdina’s walls has a fine mosaic floor. It shows the Roman lifestyle here to have been one of relative prosperity. Rabat remains the suburb of Mdina, but today it is far bigger than the ancient citadel. The countryside beyond the town leading up to Dingli Cliffs past Buskett Gardens, Malta’s largest wooded area, is ideal for walking.