Roman law prohibited burials within the city walls. That is why St Paul’s Catacombs are located on the outskirts of the old Roman capital Melite (today’s Mdina). Serving as a burial ground from...
Roman law prohibited burials within the city walls. That is why St Paul’s Catacombs are located on the outskirts of the old Roman capital Melite (today’s Mdina). Serving as a burial ground from Punic and Roman times, the site represents the earliest and largest archaeological evidence of Christianity in Malta. Its association to the saint derives from the myth that this cluster of catacombs was once connected with St Paul’s Grotto. The catacombs form a typical complex of interconnected underground Roman cemeteries that were in use up to the 7th, and possibly the 8th centuries AD. The area is littered with more than 30 hypogea, of which the main complex, situated within the St Paul’s cluster, comprises an intricate system of interconnected passages and tombs that cover an area of well over 2000 square metres. The complex was perhaps abandoned, and to some extent despoiled, during the Saracenic period, when burial customs changed dramatically to suit the practices of the new conquerors. Part of the catacombs were reutilised during the re-Christianisation of the Island, around the 13th century, when an open space was re-cut and used as a Christian shrine decorated with murals. Although much smaller when compared to the catacombs of Rome and other large Roman centres, the catacombs of St Paul are a good example of the Maltese underground architecture which is the result of an indigenous development that was barely influenced by overseas traditions. Other Heritage Malta sites in the vicinity: Domvs Romana and the National Museum of Natural History.
Entrance Fee for students (12 - 17 years) requires ID or Student Card
Operating Dates: All Year except on 24, 25 & 31 December, 1 January & Good Friday
June to October Monday to Sunday: 09.00 – 18.00hrs (last admission at 17.30hrs)
November to May Monday to Sunday: 09.00 – 17.00hrs (last admission: 16.30hrs)