Rotunda of Mosta, located in the heart of Mosta, stands tall as a magnificent example of Baroque architecture. Its iconic dome, an architectural marvel, has earned it the distinction of being the third largest unsupported dome in the world. This iconic church, officially known as the Church of the Assumption of Our Lady, is one of the most remarkable religious sites on the island.
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In several Maltese churches, you may notice two clocks displaying different times. Local folklore suggests that the clock on the right shows the accurate time for the religious locals, while the clock on the left intentionally shows the wrong time. This belief stems from the notion that the misleading clock confuses Satan, preventing any disruptions during Mass and other religious gatherings.
Steeped in history and grandeur, the Mosta Rotunda holds a special place in the hearts of locals and visitors alike.
Brief Introduction: An Overview of Rotunda of Mosta
The Mosta Rotunda, a magnificent Catholic church, holds a storied history as it was meticulously constructed over a span of nearly three decades from 1833 to 1860, designed by the renowned Maltese architect Giorgio Grognet de Vassé. Devoted to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, this awe-inspiring place of worship has become a pilgrimage site, drawing devout believers and curious explorers alike from all corners of the globe. Moreover, the Rotunda has also earned its reputation as a favoured wedding venue.
Rotunda of Mosta boasts a magnificent neoclassical design, influenced by the grand architecture of ancient Rome. However, its most fascinating tale lies in its survival during World War II.
During an air raid in 1942, a 500-kilogram bomb pierced through the church’s dome while over 300 parishioners were attending mass. Miraculously, the bomb did not explode, sparing the lives of all those inside and earning the church the title of the “Miracle of Mosta.” Today, the bomb can still be seen on display as a testament to this miraculous event.
Location and How to Get to Rotunda of Mosta
The Rotunda of Mosta is conveniently located in the centre of Mosta, a charming town in the northern part of Malta. Hence, this makes it easily accessible from various parts of the island. Tourists can opt for several transportation methods to reach this awe-inspiring site.
- By Car: Renting a car provides flexibility and convenience, allowing you to explore the surrounding areas as well. Additionally, Mosta has ample parking spaces, making it convenient for visitors who choose to drive.
- By Bus: Malta’s efficient bus system connects Mosta with other major towns and tourist spots. Specifically, bus routes 41, 42, 45, and 49 regularly serve Mosta, making it accessible from various locations across the island.
What to See and Expect in Rotunda of Mosta
As you approach Mosta Rotunda, its imposing facade and striking dome will leave you in awe. The church’s iconic dome is among the largest in Europe and boasts a diameter of 37.2 meters.
Upon arriving at the entrance of the church, the visitors need to purchase a ticket to proceed. If you’re interested in witnessing the grandeur of the church’s dome from within, opt for the €5 ticket. Then you can ascend to the rooftop via a spiral staircase discreetly located behind the counter. Spiral stairs are moderately challenging to climb, not recommended for people with limited mobility.
What’s on the top?
On the top floor, there are two bell towers that chime at different times. Moreover, from here, you can also enjoy a panoramic view of Mosta’s cityscape.
The most remarkable attraction on the top floor is the interior of the largest unsupported dome in all of Europe. The transparent top of the dome allows sunlight to illuminate the church, creating a radiant and glorious ambiance. A small section where original coloured tiles are visibly different. According to church officials, it was through this very section that the bomb penetrated and fell inside the church during the bombing incident.
What’s in the main hall?
Once descended and stepping into the main hall, and you’ll be greeted by a stunning interior adorned with intricate frescoes, statues, and ornate decorations. The high vaulted ceilings and magnificent altar add to the church’s grandeur, making it a feast for the eyes.
Many tourists tend to take a quick glance at the main hall and then head to the World War II shelter behind the church for exploration. In fact, the most significant attraction at the back of the church is the replica of the bomb that pierced through the dome during the war. The actual bomb has long been disarmed and disposed of in the sea, but this replica gives visitors a vivid sense of its size and the potential disaster it could have caused. Thankfully, the bomb did not explode, allowing over 300 people inside the church to escape unharmed.
Rotunda of Mosta is open to the public throughout the week. Visitors are welcome to join regular masses, or simply take a leisurely stroll through the church to appreciate its beauty and historical significance.
› Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 09:30-18:00; Saturday 09:30-16:30; Sunday 12:00-17:00 (Last entry half an hour before closing)
› Tickets: €3 (includes access to the main church and WWII shelter); €5 (includes access to the main church, WWII shelter, and a small viewing platform inside the dome)
Tips for Visiting
- To make the most of your visit, consider attending one of the scheduled masses to experience the church’s spiritual ambiance.
- Early mornings or late afternoons are ideal times to visit, as the church tends to be less crowded during these hours, allowing for a more serene experience.
- Keep in mind that as a place of worship, visitors are encouraged to dress modestly and be respectful of ongoing religious activities.
In conclusion, Mosta Rotunda captivates with its history, architecture, and faith, providing a memorable experience for all visitors.. Be prepared to be captivated by its miraculous past as you immerse yourself in the rich heritage of Malta’s religious marvel.
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