The Church of the Assumption, Mosta is known as the Rotunda due to its shape. The interior dome has a diameter of nearly 39 meters and is 55 meters high making it one of the largest unsupported domes in Europe. During World War II a bomb fell through the dome and landed in the church but no one was injured. The bomb was removed and diffused but a replica is exhibited in the sacristy which now contains a small museum.
Located in the town of Mosta on the main island of Malta, the Roman Catholic church, dedicated to the Assumption of Mary, was constructed between 1833 and 1860 in the neo-classical style. The church was officially consecrated the 15th October 1871. It is known as the Rotunda due to its shape. During construction the existing church was preserved and built around, finally being demolished when the new one was completed.
The Church of the Assumption was built of local stone to replace the church build in 1614 as a larger one was needed due to the growth of the town. Designed by Giorgio Grognet de Vasse and based on the Pantheon in Rome with the addition of two belfries. The design broke away from the traditional Latin Cross layout. The interior dome has a diameter of nearly 39 meters and is 55 meters high making it one of the largest unsupported domes in Europe. Its walls are 9 meters thick.
The interior of the dome has a white ceiling with golden elements and the interior walls are painted blue and displays many frescos and paintings. Many of the paintings were produced by Giuseppe Cali, Malta’s finest 19th century artists, and his work can be seen in the church’s pendentives, which is a triangular segment just below the dome. Buried within the church is its designer Giorgio Grognet de Vasse.
During World War II, adjacent to the church was a military airfield and at 4.40 pm on the 9th April 1942 the church was hit by a 200kg German bomb. This fell through the dome and entered the church but failed to explode. At that time 300 people were attending the church for a service, but no one was injured, and the incident was labelled as a miracle. The bomb was removed and diffused but a replica is exhibited in the sacristy which now contains a small museum.
Replica of Bomb falling into the church
To see more photographs and take a virtual tour of the site click on the photoshow below.
All Photographs were taken by and are copyright of Ron Gatepain