The Phoenicians founded Mdina around 700 BC. The city was then called Maleth and later, under Roman rule, Melite. Either the Byzantines or the Arabs reduced Mdina to its present size. Medieval Mdina was protected by double walls on the land front, with a tower, Turri Mastra, close to the main entrance which then had three gates separated by courtyards. The main gate was reconstructed by Grandmaster Vilhena in the early 17th century along with a general renovation of Mdina. The Turri Mastra was replaced by the Torre dello Standardo.
St Paul, St Publius and St Agatha adorn the inside of the Main Mdina Gate.
Mdina also has two other gates, the Greek Gate, which survives from the mediaval era and the third entrance to Mdina was created in the 19th century to give a more direct access to the train station. This is known as Għarreqin Gate. Some also refer to it as the ‘hole in the wall’ because it is literally an excavation through the Mdina city walls with a ramp leading down to the ditch in the direction of the train station.
The current church was built in the late 17th century and blessed by Bishop Davide Rocco Palmieri in 1696 during the reign of Grandmaster Adrien de Wignacourt. Like the Metropolitan Cathedral of Mdina, the church was designed by Lorenzo Gafa.
It was built during the reign of Grandmaster Adrien de Wignacourt, hence the reason why in the titular painting of St Agatha, by Giuseppe D’Arena, we can also see St Adrian.
Leaving the Church of St Agatha behind us we head towards the main Mdina Gate.