Gozo
A real life-saver: Gozo's Ta’ Pinu is a magnificent church with an incredible story
It supposedly saved the Gozitans from the plague.

Jillian Mallia

If you’re planning a trip to Gozo this summer, an absolute must-visit is the wonderful Ta’ Pinu Basilica in the village of Gharb. Boasting breath-taking scenic views of Malta’s sister isle, Gozo’s best known church has quite the history attached to it.

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Of myths and miracles

In 1883, a woman from the village of Gharb, Karmni Grima, heard the voice of Our Lady at the small chapel that occupied the site at the time. From then on, it rapidly became the centre of pilgrimage and the number of visitors soon overwhelmed the little church.

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Nowadays, the chapel remains intact behind the altar and still contains the painting of the Assumption to Heaven of Our Lady from which the voice is said to have spoken.

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In subsequent years, many miracles and acts of grace were said to be manifested at this site. It was believed that the prayers said in the chapel saved Gozo from the plague which had stricken Malta in the 19th century. The locals, therefore, decided to build a larger and more magnificent church on site in honour of the Blessed Virgin.

The magnificent church

The church that stands today is a monumental shrine to Our Lady of Ta’ Pinu built between 1920 and 1931 and is considered to be an architectural masterpiece due to its interior that boasts superb sculptures and craftsmanship in Maltese stone. The church was consecrated by Pope Pius XI in 1931 who raised it to the status of a Basilica.

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A series of 14 marble statues representing the Via Crucis or Way of the Cross runs up Ghammar Hill opposite the church. Many people have flocked to the religious site to take snaps of the gorgeous mosaics that can be found on the church parvis.

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Pope John Paul II celebrated mass on the parvis of the shrine during his visit to the island in 1990. In 2010, Pope Benedict XVI donated and placed a Golden Rose (an ornament which popes have blessed annually) in front of the devotional image of Our Lady.

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The church, or basilica we should say, is listed on the National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands.

14th November 2020


Jillian Mallia
Written by
Jillian Mallia
A book lover, writer and globetrotter who loves exploring new places and the local gems that the Maltese Islands have to offer. An avid foodie and arts fanatic, Jillian searches the island and beyond for the perfect settings to write about.

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