The Mosta Dome: A marvellous miracle
and dive deeper
Take a look inside the dome’s history, architecture and celebrations.
If you’re staying at one of our AX Hotels, the Mosta Dome is definitely a must-see. It is a symbol of the Maltese islands, as it is one of the fourth largest domes in the world, but that isn’t its only claim to fame. What the locals have termed a miracle has occurred in this historical dome, making its story famous worldwide.
The Dome’s History
The story of this dome can be traced back to 1610, when the people of Mosta commissioned a church that was originally intended to be much smaller, and was formerly meant to be in the shape of a Latin cross. But as the population grew, so did the needs to the people, so the renowned Maltese architect George Grognet de Vassè designed the rotunda as it stands today, and it was completed in 1860. But tragedy struck on the 9th of April 1943, when the dome was bombed by the Italian Air Force. Three-hundred people were inside at the time when the five hundred kilo bomb dropped, listening to mass, but amazingly, the bomb did not explode, sparing the lives of all inside.
The Magnificent Architecture
Grognet de Vassè’s work of art is fascinating; the church’s façade has an atrium with six ionic columns, and is bordered by two bell towers. The breathtaking dome, which is its namesake, is 61 meters high and 39.6 meters wide, and is, in fact, unsupported! The interior of the church is also a site to behold, painted in blue, gold and white, and adorned with vibrant colours, striking statues, and other ornamental elements. With its niches and apses, this church is definitely a place you should visit, especially if you’re an art lover.
Religious Celebrations & Feasts
Another reason why this church is so popular are its religious celebrations and feasts. There are plenty of religious feasts all over Malta, most often known as the village feast, which is dedicated to the patron saint of the particular village. Mosta is no exception, in fact, its feast is one of the most popular ones on the islands. The feast is held in honour of The Assumption of Our Lady every 15th of August, and is a nationwide public holiday. One can visit the food and sweets stalls, which often have traditional sweets such as imqaret or penit, gaze at the stunning fireworks display, and follow the marching band through the streets. Apart from this, if you happen to be visiting the island during the holy week, the Mosta Good Friday procession is an unmissable occasion. Here you would have the opportunity to see people walking barefoot and wearing a full-body cover in black or white to indicate penance. You would also see people wearing costumes from various biblical episodes, and several statues depicting the passion of Christ being carried through the street.
The Dome Today
Nowadays, the bells ring on the anniversary of the remarkable occasion of the dropping of the bomb and a replica of the bomb can be seen in a small museum found next to the church. The church, its dome, its bomb and its feasts attracts visitors, pilgrims and tourists from all around the world and remains one of Malta’s most prominent sites.