Religious sites in Malta

St. John's Co-Cathedral

St. Johns Co-Cathedral was built by the Knights of Malta between 1573 and 1578, having been commissioned in 1572 by Grand Master Jean de la Cassière as the conventual church of the Order of the Knights Hospitaller of St John, known as the Knights of Malta. The Church was designed by the Maltese military architect Glormu Cassar who designed several of the more prominent buildings in Valletta. The church is considered to b ...
Founded: 1573-1578 | Location: Valletta, Malta

St. Paul's Cathedral

St. Paul"s Cathedral in Mdina was built on the site where governor Publius was reported to have met Saint Paul following his shipwreck off the Maltese coast. According to tradition, the first Cathedral of Malta was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, Mother of God but, having fallen into ruin during the Muslim period, it was rebuilt following the Norman conquest and re-dedicated to St Paul. The old church was modified a ...
Founded: 1697-1702 | Location: Mdina, Malta

Church of Our Lady of Liesse

The Church of Our Lady of Liesse was built in 1740 on the site of a 17th-century church. The first stone of the Church of Our Lady of Liesse was laid down on 21 November 1620, in a ceremony attended by Grand Master Alof de Wignacourt and many other members of the Order of St. John. The church was built with funds donated by Fra Giacomo De Chess du Bellay, who was the Bailiff of Armenia. The church was completely rebuilt ...
Founded: 1740 | Location: Valletta, Malta

Our Lady of Victories Church

Our Lady of Victories Church was the first church and building completed in Valletta. The church was built to commemorate the victory of the Knights of the Order of St John and the Maltese over the Ottoman invaders on 8 September 1565. It was built on the site where a religious ceremony was held to inaugurate the laying of the foundation stone of the new city Valletta on 28 March 1566. A church was chosen as the first bui ...
Founded: 1566 | Location: Valletta, Malta

St. Dominic Basilica

The Basilica of St. Dominic is one of the three parish churches of Valletta. It is administered by the Dominican Order whose convent is located behind the church. The land upon which the church and convent are built were given to the order by Grand Master Pierre de Monte. Girolamo Cassar was commissioned to draw up the plans. The first stone was laid on 19 April 1571. The parish was established on 2 July 1571 by a decree ...
Founded: 1815 | Location: Valletta, Malta

Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

The Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is a Roman Catholic church in the Maltese capital Valletta and part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, which includes the entire city of Valletta. The first church was dedicated to the Annunciation. It was built around 1570 on the designs of Girolamo Cassar. In the 17th century it was given to the Carmelites and thus received its present patronage to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The ...
Founded: 1570/1958 | Location: Valletta, Malta

St. Nicholas Church

The Church of St Nicholas is a Greek Catholic church in Valletta. It was originally built to serve as a Greek Orthodox church in 1569. Following the Union of Brest in 1595-96 the Greek Catholic Church came into existence. It was in 1639 that the then parish priest decided to separate from the Orthodox church and join the Greek Catholic Church. Some time later it was decided to rebuild the church to the design of the Ital ...
Founded: 1595/1652 | Location: Valletta, Malta

Rotunda of Mosta

The Church of the Assumption of Our Lady, commonly known as the Rotunda of Mosta, is the third largest unsupported dome in the world and the third largest in Europe. Built in the 19th century on the site of a previous church, it was designed by the Maltese architect Giorgio Grognet de Vassé. Its dome is among the largest in the world, with an internal diameter of 37.2 metres. the rotunda walls are 9.1 metres thick (nece ...
Founded: 1833-1871 | Location: Mosta, Malta

St. Paul's Church and Grotto

The Collegiate Church of St Paul is built on part of the site of the Roman city Melite, which included all of Mdina and a large part of present-day Rabat. There were numerous churches built on the site of the present church which dates from the 17th century. In 1336 bishop Hilarius refers to the church as ecclesia Sancti Pauli de crypta, and also mentions the cemetery and the Roman ditch. The present church was built to r ...
Founded: 1726 | Location: Rabat, Malta

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Les Invalides

Les Invalides is a complex of buildings containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building"s original purpose. The buildings house the Musée de l"Armée, the military museum of the Army of France, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and the Musée d"Histoire Contemporaine, as well as the burial site for some of France"s war heroes, notably Napoleon Bonaparte.

Louis XIV initiated the project in 1670, as a home and hospital for aged and unwell soldiers: the name is a shortened form of hôpital des invalides. The architect of Les Invalides was Libéral Bruant. The enlarged project was completed in 1676, the river front measured 196 metres and the complex had fifteen courtyards. Jules Hardouin Mansart assisted the aged Bruant, and the chapel was finished in 1679 to Bruant"s designs after the elder architect"s death.

Shortly after the veterans" chapel was completed, Louis XIV commissioned Mansart to construct a separate private royal chapel referred to as the Église du Dôme from its most striking feature. Inspired by St. Peter"s Basilica in Rome, the original for all Baroque domes, it is one of the triumphs of French Baroque architecture. The domed chapel is centrally placed to dominate the court of honour. It was finished in 1708.

Because of its location and significance, the Invalides served as the scene for several key events in French history. On 14 July 1789 it was stormed by Parisian rioters who seized the cannons and muskets stored in its cellars to use against the Bastille later the same day. Napoleon was entombed under the dome of the Invalides with great ceremony in 1840. In December 1894 the degradation of Captain Alfred Dreyfus was held before the main building, while his subsequent rehabilitation ceremony took place in a courtyard of the complex in 1906.

The building retained its primary function of a retirement home and hospital for military veterans until the early twentieth century. In 1872 the musée d"artillerie (Artillery Museum) was located within the building to be joined by the Historical Museum of the Armies in 1896. The two institutions were merged to form the present musée de l"armée in 1905. At the same time the veterans in residence were dispersed to smaller centres outside Paris. The reason was that the adoption of a mainly conscript army, after 1872, meant a substantial reduction in the numbers of veterans having the twenty or more years of military service formerly required to enter the Hôpital des Invalides. The building accordingly became too large for its original purpose. The modern complex does however still include the facilities detailed below for about a hundred elderly or incapacitated former soldiers.