Mdina is one of the few great architectural treats in Malta that did not result from the activities of the Knights of St John. The oldest city on the island, going back to pre-historic times, the word Mdina derives from the Arabic word ‘medina’ which means ‘city’. Mdina was fortified in medieval times, but its protection is early times must have been its high location on a rocky crag. It is certain that either during the Byzantine or during the Arab occupation of Malta, the fortifications were retracted to the present proportions, perhaps for better defensibility. It is during this time, when the city was referred to as the ‘medina’, that Mdina got its name. The Arab legacy continued even though the Arabs were officially expelled from Malta in 1250 when the Islands were under Christian rule. Thus the name ‘Mdina’ survived even though the City was referred to as Civitas (city in Latin) or Citta Notabile.