Our Lady of the Grotto


Walk 1km south from Rabat to St Dominic's Priory, where there's a small chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Grotto. Legend claims that around 1400, a vision of the Virgin Mary appeared to a hunter in a cave on this site. A simple shrine was established, and a few decades later three Dominican friars came to Malta and chose the location to establish a priory. They also replaced a simple painting of the Virgin Mary with a marble statue.

Following damage to the statue over the centuries, modern-day Dominican friars started using a marble replica of the statue in their processions from 1982. In 1999, the replica statue spontaneously 'wept' blood-stained tears from her eyes. According to the priory's own scientific investigation, the liquid was confirmed to contain human blood.

The pretty priory gardens are lovely to stroll in – they've been used for scenes in Game of Thrones – and if you're visiting during the orange season (October to April), the garden's orange groves often have a bountiful harvest.

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