Mosta Dome


The Parish Church of Santa Maria, better known as the Rotunda or Mosta Dome, was designed by the Maltese architect Giorgio Grognet de Vassé and built (1833–60) using funds raised by the local people. It has a stunning blue, gold and white interior, where you can also see a replica of the bomb that fell through it in 1942 as around 300 parishioners waited to hear Mass. Miraculously, the bomb failed to detonate – a replica is to the left of the altar in the sacristy.

The church's circular design with a six-columned portico was closely based on the Pantheon in Rome, and the great dome – a prominent landmark (its external height is 61m) – is visible from most parts of Malta. With a diameter of 39.6m, it's one of the world's largest domes, though dome comparison is a tricky business: the parishioners of Xewkija on Gozo claim that their church has a bigger dome than Mosta's – although the Gozitan Rotunda has a smaller diameter (25m), it is higher and has a larger volumetric capacity. So there!

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