Our Lady Of Victory Church is said to be the oldest church in Valletta and was rebuilt in its Baroque architectural style in the mid/ 18th century . It was dedicated to the Virgin Mother as a child ' Il-Bambina". The feast is celebrated on the 8th of September, the same date of the Knights's victory from the Great Seige in 1565.
The large white dome of this church is a landmark on the Valletta skyline. This was Valletta's first functional church and opened its doors to the public in 1570. It has obviously undergone several transformnations since then and greatly rebuilt after severe damage in WW2.
This church is built on a neo-classical style on the site of the former Auberge d'Allemagne - home of the German Knights of Malta. Its it spire though, rising over 200 feet which along with the dome of the Carmelite Chuch forms the classical view of Valletta.
This classical view (seen in page intro pic) is best appreciated from the water on a harbour cruise or from Sliema.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church was originaly dedicated to Our Lady of the Annunciation was the first functional church in Valletta and first opened it's doors in 1570 soon after the Carmolite Friars were granted a piece of land by Grand Master Pietro del Monte, The church was designed by Gerolamo Cassar (c1550-92) but underwent many susequent modifications and additions, The Facade was rebuilt in 1852 to the design Giuseppe Bonavia.
The Church suffered extensive damage durind World War II and it was decided to Rebuild the church, The 'new church' was constructed between 1958 and 1981 and is by far the most prominate building of Valletta's skyline with 12 Corinthian columns of a rusty red marble that support the huge Dome.
The main attraction of the church is the early seventeenth century painting of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. This was the first painting on Malta to be 'crowned' by the Vatican in 1981
Sculptor Chevalier Joseph Damato has sculpted all the interior of the church and work has been ongoing for over 19 years
Ok Valletta has many fine churches but I just want to show you one more.....
St Paul is considered to be the spiritual father of the maltese and many churches in Malta are named after St Paul. The Shipwreck of St Paul is a great event in the history of Malta and thus St Paul's Collegiate Church (Shipwreck Church) in Valletta is one of the most important in Malta. We were glad to be here when it was the festa day and the church was lit up like Blackpool illuminations!
St Paul's Anglican Cathedral is huge, with a neoclassical facade and a tall spire, which forms part of Valletta's most famous aspect as seen from Sliema. The cathedral dates from 1839 and is little used these days as the number of anglicans on the island dwindles.
Inside the cathedral is clean and simple, bright and airy. We spent a nice half hour or so in conversation there with a Maltese/Canadian who now tends the cathedral.
The Carmelite Church is the name more frequently given to "Our Lady Of Mount Carmel", the huge domed church that stands near Valletta's northern waterfront. This dome and the spire of St. Paul's Anglican make up part of the most famous view of Valletta, and perhaps of Malta.
The church is huge - it's almost impossible to get a better shot than this too, as it is hemmed in by buildings making it almost impossible to get a shot from nearby.
It is said (true or not?) that the church was built with the intention of overshadowing the Anglican Cathedral, something that it doesn't quite do - they simply complement one another (IMO).
This was the first building to be erected in Valletta, around 1566. It commemorates the lifting of the first Great Siege and used to contain the body of Valletta's founder - Jean De La Vallette (he's now in the Co-Cathedral).
It's just one of several fine looking buildings clustered around the ruins of The Royal Opera House
Normally the festa of St Paul's Shipwreck is Feb 10th but was brought forward due to Lent being early. The banners and decorations in the streets were all out and a party atmsosphere ensued - the actual processsion of the statue didn't take place though as possibility of rain meant the treasured staute that is normally paraded through the streets could be damaged. Even so it was a colourful expeience and if you are around for a festa - there are so many then go and enjoy the fun.
The interior of the shipwreck church was richly decorated with red drapes - whether this was just for the festa or normal I'm not sure as the church had such a wealth of treasures inside - never seen so much on display in a church - and the paintings were really colourful. Certianly seemed a popular church to visit so put it on your must see list.
The most prized, and most protected treasure in the Shipwreck Church is this claimed relic of the right wrist bone of St Paul and part of the column on which he was beheaded. Sometimes it is covered up and not for public viewing - this was the case of the festa day when so many people were milling around the church and outside on the streets - we quicklly popped in on another day and managed to see it.
After the besieging Turks were chased off the peninsula, the Knights of St. John hurried to consecrate the first stone of their new capital: Valletta. The ceremony for the laying of this stone was held at this spot and the church was subsequently built on top. It was Valletta's first church. Later the Grand Master of La Valette was buried here.
Malta is a thoroughly Catholic country, but it was for a long time a part of the British Empire. So it was that a British monarch, Queen Adelaide, decided to build an Anglican cathedral here. Being as the Church of England is thoroughly Protestant, there isn't a great deal of use for it in Malta, but its very British spire stands out as one of the two iconic features of Valletta's skyline, along with the dome of the Carmelite church.
Easily the most outstanding feature of Valletta's skyline is the dome of the Carmelite Church. It was Valletta's first church, built in 1570, but has been damaged many times since. The greatest damage came during World War 2, and Axis bombs forced the reconstruction of the magnificent 62 meter high dome.
Inside the Carmelite church is less spectacular, especially when compared to the Co-Cathedral nearby. The interior of the dome, however, is impressive and covers the atrium and altar.
Our Lady of Victory is a special church because it was the first one to be built in la Valletta. The place where it stands is very symbolic: it’s where the first stone of the new city was set on 28 March 1566, after having defeated the Turks during the 'Great Siege' of 1565. The Grand Master Jean Parisot de Vallette was originally buried in this church before being moved to St John's Co-Cathedral.
Initially, however, it was not a church but a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Victory, it was only in the 18th century that the building was enlarged, a belfry added, and it became a church.