CHURCH Trails of Malta’s ECCLESIASTICAL cultural heritage

Southern Trail


Jesuits Church Oratory of the Immaculate Conception

The Jesuits church is built on a cruciform plan comprising a central nave and four inter-communicating bays accommodating seven side-chapels. On the side of Archbishop Street, the middle bay was allocated for the side entrance, instead of an eightth side-chapel. At the side entrance are the two oratories, one dedicated to the Immaculate Conception and the other dedicated to St Honoria, thus earning the better known name of the Confraternity of the Onorati.

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Parish Church of St Leonard

The Parish church of Kirkop was first built in 1706 on the site of an older seventeenth-century church dedicated to St Leonard and St Mary. The Baroque church continued to be enlarged until 1862, when the belltowers were built to the design of the architect Giuseppe Cristoforo. The church is built on raised ground and is surrounded by a parvis with balustrades all around.

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Parish Church of Christ the King

The Parish church of Paola is dedicated to Christ the King and was built between 1924 and 1959. At first it was planned over the location of an old church, however this idea was abandoned in order to have a new Parish church in a more prominent site at the centre of the town. The new church was designed in a blend of Baroque and Neo-classical architecture, by Guzè D’Amato, although works on site were undertaken by the Maltese architect Filippo Tortell. Its dimensions are impressive, being 250 feet long and 100 feet wide, and includes ten altars in all.

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Parish Church of the Assumption

The Parish church of Qrendi was built between 1620 and 1655 to a design attributed to the Maltese architect Vittorio Cassar (c.1550-c.1609). It was built on the site of two smaller churches dedicated to the Assumption and to St Anthony. The church was extensively remodelled and enlarged between 1668 and 1679 by the Maltese architect Lorenzo Gafa’. The design of the façade was influenced by the style of the French architect Mederico Blondel in his church of St Francis in Valletta as well as the Carmelite Church in Mdina.

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Parish Church of The Nativity of Our Lady

The Parish church of Senglea was rebuilt between 1946 and 1956, as it was almost destroyed during WWII. Its architecture was planned by the Maltese designer Victor Anastasi (1913-1992). The church is over the site of the original church built in 1580 as a monument to the victory of the Great Siege of 1565.

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Parish Church of the Annunciation

The Parish church of the Annunciation in Tarxien is a fine example of early Baroque architecture in Malta, built between 1610 and 1627. Its design was attributed to the Maltese architect Gerolamo Cassar (c.1520-1592), with the later involvement of his son Vittorio (1550-1607). Its plan was influenced by the design of the Jesuits Church in Valletta.

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Northern Trail


Cathedral of St Paul

The Metropolitan Cathedral of St Paul in Mdina was built between 1694 and 1705. It replaced the medieval cathedral after the earthquake of 1693 led to severe damage to the building. According to tradition the cathedral is built over the former site of the palace of Publius, Malta’s Roman governor and later its first Bishop. Initially the church was dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.

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Parish Church of St Paul Chapel of St Anthony the Abbot

The Parish church of St Paul in Rabat was built between 1653 and 1683 to designs by the Italian architect Francesco Buonamici (1596-1677) and, after 1664, by the Maltese architect Lorenzo Gafa’ (1639-1703). The building of the church was over an earlier fifteenth century one. Its Baroque design also had to encompass another church dedicated to St Publius on the left, in a manner that would not outshine the smaller one, which belonged to the Order of St John.

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Parish Church of the Nativity of Our Lady

The Parish church of Naxxar was first built between 1614 and 1636 and is attributed to the Maltese architect Vittorio Cassar (c. 1550-1607) with Tommaso Dingli as master mason, later architect. Between 1909 and 1910, the church was enlarged with a new, wider façade and side aisles. The church was erected on the site of a number of smaller older churches. The chapels in the new church were dedicated to the titular saints of the churches demolished.

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Parish Church of The Assumption

The parish church of Mosta was constructed around an earlier church which was built in 1619. The old church was dismantled after the completion of the new church. Its architect, Giorgio Grognet de Vasse’ (1774-1862) was inspired by the Pantheon in Rome, while Diana’s temple at Ephesus was the source of inspiration for the façade.

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Parish Church of The Assumption

The Parish church of the Assumption in Mgarr was built in different stages, over an earlier fifteenth-century church, and was completed with the building of its large dome. The dates of the building of the church ‘1912’ and its completion, ‘1948’, are seen in bronze on the lower part of the belfry.

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Sanctuary of Our Lady of Mellieha, Pilgrim’s Lodge

The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Mellieha has been a site of pilgrimage for centuries. The shrine in the cave-church was adapted in the mid-seventeenth century to accommodate pilgrims, while other changes were made to the surroundings in the mid-eighteenth century.

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Central Trail


Parish Church of St Publius

The Parish church of Floriana was first built between 1733 and 1771 by Francesco Marandon, the architect of the Order of St John and later by the Maltese architect Giuseppe Bonnici (1706-1779). In the nineteenth century, further changes were made by the designer Dr Nicola Zammit (1815-1899).

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Parish Church of San Cajetan

The Parish church of Hamrun was built between 1869 and 1875, to designs by the Maltese architect George Schinas (1834-1894). An Oratory was added in 1895, while its magnificent dome was completed in 1955, to a design by the Maltese architect Andrea Vassallo (1856-1928), based on that of Santa Maria della Salute in Venice.

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Church of Our Lady of Atocia (Tas-Samra)

The Church of Our Lady of Atocia in Hamrun was built in 1630, to replace a small medieval church nearby, dedicated to St Nicholas which was abandoned and declared profane in 1575.

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Parish Church of St Philip of Agira

The Parish church of Haz-Zebbug was first built between 1599 and 1637, and is traditionally attributed to the Maltese architect Vittorio Cassar (c.1550-1609), but completed by Tommaso Dingli. It was enlarged with a choir and nave extension in 1660, when two altars and two belltowers were added, to designs by the Maltese architect Lorenzo Gafa (1639-1703). Between 1913 and 1918, side-aisles were added.

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Parish Church of St Gregory the Great

The Parish church of St Gregory the Great in Sliema is a modern church, built between 1923 and 1940, to the design of the Maltese architect Godwin Galizia (1880-1944).

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Church of the Immaculate Conception

The Church of the Immaculate Conception in Msida was built in thanksgiving by sailors who were saved from captivity by Turks. They dedicated the church to ‘Our Lady of Perpetual Help’. This dedication was also recorded in Mons. Dusina’s pastoral visit of 1575. A later source mentions that the church was originally dedicated to the Assumption of Our Lady.

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Restoring and conserving the cultural assets for future generations.

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