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Originally inhabited by the Phoenicians the city of Mdina called Maleth at the time was probably first fortified during their rule around 700 BCE thanks to its strategic location on one of Malta’s highest points and its relative distance from the sea and the possibility of attack. Unfortunately this also made it an important stronghold for securing the country, ensuring it would undergo successive renovations as it fell into new hands. Under the Roman Empire the island became a municipium, an independently governed state that swore allegiance and paid taxes to the Empire in return for military protection and rights as recognized citizens of Rome, whose governor built his palace in Mdina. However this also means the earliest surviving buildings can only be dated back to the 1091 CE Norman conquest of Malta who were responsible for widening the moat and building the thick defensive fortifications we’re familiar with today. These days the majority of the city’s palaces serve as private homes and during season one of HBO’s Game of Thrones the backdrop for King’s Landing.

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