Did you know there are over 350 churches in Malta? You might think that, unless you’re particularly religious, this isn’t interesting news. You’re wrong – churches in Malta are all about the art, the majestic architecture and the sheer sense of pageantry. Your stay in Malta certainly won’t be complete if you don’t get to experience some of the most beautiful specimens, so here is our definitive list of the top 5 most beautiful churches in Malta, in no particular order.
5. Parish Church of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, Mellieha
Even as you approach through the massive piazza that hosts it, few churches cut as imposing a figure as the Mellieha parish church. The huge facade has graced the background of many an Instagram, or Facebook, picture – especially when lit up in honour of the Saint’s feast celebrated in the first week of September.
4. St John’s co-Cathedral, Valletta
Beyond the building itself, this church is a veritable treasure trove of art. The building contains nine small chapels, each with its own priceless collection. There are two of Caravaggio’s most notable works available for viewing – The Beheading of St John and St Jerome Writing. The collection of marble tombstones, where some of the Order of St John’s most notable knights lie in repose, is another wonder. Because of the fragility of the marble, pointed heels cannot be worn in church.The collection of Flemish tapestries is also worth a mention.
3. St Paul’s Cathedral, Mdina
The gorgeous baroque facade of this building means that there’s always a throng of visitors occupying the spacious square where it stands. But don’t just stop there – take the time to wander inside, to take in the gorgeous frescoes painted by the famed Sicilian Manni brothers. The church is lit up by three 19th-century stained glass windows, and there are many interesting artefacts to be discovered by those who enjoy history.
2. Ta’ Pinu, Gharb, Gozo
Few churches can boast such a picturesque background as Ta’ Pinu, with the turquoise Mediterranean Sea that surrounds Gozo right behind it. But this isn’t the church’s biggest claim to fame. According to religious lore, in 1883 a woman from Gharb heard the voice of Our Lady speaking to her there – since then, the church has become a pilgrimage site, with the devout leaving their prayers on little bits of paper in the hope of divine intercession.
1. The Sanctuary Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady, Mosta
More better known as the Rotunda, this church boasts the third largest unsupported dome in the world. During World War II in 1942, the building was almost destroyed by a German bomb that fell on site during mass. The bomb failed to explode, thus sealing the Mosta dome’s miraculous powers in local history forever.