Vilhena Palace, Show all 4 places in Mdina » Mdina 4
Vilena Palace, which is also called the Magister's Palace by the locals, was built in the French Baroque style. It is named after the Grand Master of the Order of St. John Antoine Manuel de Vilaine, who was its first master. The palace was erected in 1726-1728 by the architect Charles Francois de Mondion on the site of the old building of the local council.
Interestingly, the site where the palace now stands has not been empty since the Punic era. During the Byzantine period, there was a fort, later rebuilt into a well-fortified castle, known in the Middle Ages as Castella de la Chitati. The inner walls of the castle were demolished in the 15th century, and the outer ones in the 30s of the 16th century became the basis of the palace of the Grand Master Philippe Villeera de Lisle Adam. The palace in those days was called Palazzo Guiuratale. It was occupied by the city council of Mdina, which was called the University. The building was badly damaged during the 1693 earthquake. Finally, Grand Master Vilena set about restoring Mdina's buildings. The City Gate was restored, and it was decided to demolish the building of the City Council. In this place, Vilena's palace appeared.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, it was used as a hospital. Only in the 1890s were barracks temporarily located here. Since 1909, this building has been known as the Connaught Hospital, where tuberculosis patients were treated. It was discovered by King Edward VII. Since 1973, the National Museum of Natural History has been located here. His collection consists of specimens of flora and fauna, rocks, minerals found in Malta, fossilized animal remains. Here you can also see a diorama about the nature of Malta.