19th December 2017
10 of Malta’s grandest churches for a large wedding ceremony
With over 300 churches across Malta and Gozo, couples looking for a religious ceremony are truly spoiled for choice. And if you’re after a particularly grand affair, look no further – here’s a collection of Malta’s most spectacular churches.
1. Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Paul, Mdina
Set in Malta’s historic silent city and old capital, it’s no wonder that the Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Paul, or St Paul's Cathedral as it is more commonly known, is such a popular option among local and foreign couples keen to exchange vows in a grand setting. The impressive cathedral is built in the Baroque style, with its main façade just as grand as its frescoed interior, located on St Paul’s Square. Surrounded by impressive period houses, it makes for a wonderful backdrop for photos both within and without.
2. Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Valletta
The Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is one of the islands’ most recognisable churches, and its 42 metre-high oval dome forms part of the iconic Valletta skyline. Apart from being among the most famous churches and main tourist attractions of Valletta, it’s also a favourite among couples looking to tie the knot. Inside, the painting of Our Lady of Mount Carmel dating back to the early 17th century is the star of the show, along with the imposing red columns that frame it all.
3. Parish Church of the Assumption, Mosta
Commonly known as the Rotunda of Mosta, this impressive neoclassical parish’s claim to fame is twofold. First is the sheer size of its dome, which is said to be the third largest unsupported dome in the world, and second is what believers consider a miracle: a narrow escape during World War II, when a German aerial bomb tore into the church during Mass, but failed to explode. Nowadays, its grand interior and parvis make it a popular spot for weddings.
4. Cathedral of the Assumption, Citadella, Gozo
As you make your way into Gozo’s recently restored Citadel, the majestic Gozo Cathedral, looming large across the small square, comes into full view. Constructed between 1697 and 1711, the fine Baroque Cathedral was designed by celebrated Maltese architect Lorenzo Gafà, and is renowned for an impressive trompe l’oeil painting on the ceiling, which gives an uncanny impression of a dome despite the roof being flat.
5. Collegiate Parish Church of St Paul's Shipwreck, Valletta
Also known as the Church of St Paul's Shipwreck, this is one of the oldest churches in Valletta, and hosts a wealth of masterpieces within, including its magnificent altarpiece by Matteo Perez d'Aleccio, as well as paintings by Attilio Palombi and Giuseppe Calì. It’s particularly beautiful when decked out in its festive best for the feast of St Paul in February.
6. Basilica of the National Shrine of the Blessed Virgin of Ta' Pinu, Gharb
The minor basilica and national shrine of Ta’ Pinu is one of the sister isle’s most spectacular places of worship, owing in no small part to its location: on the edge of a cliff in the open countryside, with 360⁰ vistas of its lush surroundings – an excellent area for post-wedding photos of the happy couple.
7. Our Saviour’s Church, Lija
Formally known as the Parish Church of the Transfiguration of Jesus, Lija’s towering parish dates back to 1594, and is loved by local couples due to its central location and impressive exterior and parvis. Inside, the titular painting depicting the Transfiguration of Jesus by Mattia Preti is a masterpiece that makes for an exceptional backdrop for a religious ceremony.
8. St Publius Parish Church, Floriana
Always making an appearance decked out in its festive best during the yearly Isle of MTV celebrations in Floriana, the impressive parish was constructed at several stages between the 18th and 20th centuries. Following an aerial bombardment during World War II which left part of its façade and dome in ruins, it was restored to its former glory in the 1950s. While there, look up – the ceiling features impressive paintings depicting Saint Paul's shipwreck and stay in Malta.
9. St Helen's Basilica, Birkirkara
The imposing baroque structure that is St Helen’s Basilica in Birkirkara is said to have been inspired by the Mdina Cathedral, and is a towering monument within this central village. The sizeable parvis makes for a dramatic walk up to the ceremony, and the church looks particularly spectacular decked out for the parish feast celebrations, both inside and out!
10. Parish Church of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, Mellieha
The silhouette of this 19th century church, perched atop a picturesque hill and with impressive views of Mellieha beyond is iconic, and makes for a breath taking place for a wedding. It looks particularly stunning when lit up for the evening, set against a romantic starry sky.