Culture
A dose of history! 170 year old photo shows the Mosta dome being built
It took a total of 27 years to build the church!

Emma Galea

The Mosta Dome or Rotunda is one of Malta’s most famous historical landmarks and this rare shot was captured when it was being built in the 1850s. That’s almost 170 years ago! 

It was taken from ‘Triq il-Kungress Ewkaristiku’, which at the time, the street was almost pretty much empty. 

This iconic church took a long time to build, 27 years to be exact. The first stone was laid on the 30th May 1833 and it was officially finished on the 16th February of 1860.

Before the rotunda, there was another church serving the people of Mosta but by the early 1800s it had become too small for the growing village so new plans were drawn up. It was in fact found within the same grounds of the rotunda church, but it was soon dismantled after the church we know of today was completed.

The church started being used right after it was finished even though it was only officially consecrated by Bishop Gaetano Pace Forno on 18th October, 1871.

The photo above was taken soon after, most likely sometime in the 1880s when the usage of the church was in full swing.

However, the church is perhaps best known for the World War II miracle that occurred on the 9th April of 1942. The Luftwaffe dropped three bombs on the church, two of them didn’t hit it but one pierced right through the dome, yet by some miracle it did not explode. If it had, it would have likely killed the 300 people inside the church that were waiting for mass to begin.

7th December 2023


Emma Galea
Written by
Emma Galea
Emma is a Gozitan writer who loves all things related to English literature and history. When not busy studying or writing you will either find her immersed in a fictional book or at the cinema trying to watch as many films as she possibly can!

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