THE ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA

A DICTIONARY OF ARTS, SCIENCES, LITERATURE AND GENERAL INFORMATION

ELEVENTH EDITION 1911

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CITTĄ VECCHIA, or Cittą Notabile, a fortified city of Malta, 7 m. W. of Valletta, with which it is connected by railway. Pop. (1901) 7515. It lies on high, sharply rising ground which affords a view of a large part of the island. It is the seat of a bishop, and contains an ornate cathedral, overthrown by an earthquake in 1693, but rebuilt, which is said by an acceptable tradition to occupy the site of the house of the governor Publius, who welcomed the apostle Paul. It contains some rich stalls of the 15th century and other objects of interest. In the rock beneath the city there are some remarkable catacombs in part of pre-Christian origin, but containing evidence of early Christian burial; and a grotto, reputed to have given shelter to the apostle, is pointed out below the church of San Paolo. Remains of Roman buildings have been excavated in the town. About 2 m. E. of the town is the residence of the English governor, known as the palace of S. Antonio; and at a like distance to the south is the ancient palace of the grand masters of the order of St John, with an extensive public garden called Il Boschetto. Cittą Vecchia was called Civitas Melita by the Romans and oldest writers, Medina (i.e. the city) by the Saracens, Notabile (locale notabile, et insigne coronae regiae, as it is called in a charter by Alphonso, 1428) under the Sicilian rule, and Cittą Vecchia (old city) by the knights. It was the capital of the island till its supersession by Valletta in 1570. (See also Malta.)
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