St. Paul’s Catacombs are part of a large cemetery once located outside the walls of the ancient Roman city of Melite. The area today makes up the cities of Mdina and Rabat in Malta. Roman tradition stated that burials were to be outside of city walls.
Earlier tombs consisted of a deep rectangular shaft with chambers dug into their sides. Over time the burial chambers were dug in a more regular and larger shape. This led to neighbouring tombs being connected, creating catacombs, which became the normal style of burial by the fourth century AD. The catacombs remained in use up to the eighth century, and some were reused in the 13th century as Christianity grew on the islands of Malta.
The network of underground tombs was rediscovered in 1894, having been abandoned for centuries. Few artifacts were found during the surveying of the site, as the catacombs had probably been looted during their abandonment.
We’ve also explored the world-famous and significantly larger Paris Catacombs- click to read about them.
Last Updated on 4 March 2022 by Michael