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Cathedral Museum

The Cathedral Church and Museum Tours

Gozo Cathedral Tour

  1. the cathedral
    We are delighted that today you are visiting the Gozo Cathedral, a place where God has been honoured in worship for about 1500 years.
  2. the vestry
    Where vestments are kept and the clergy robe for divine service. The allegory Triumph of Faith (1880) covers the whole ceiling.
  3. south entrance chapel
    The donation of the statue of Santa Marija, in dome (1956). In a lunette, Operation Pedestal, a convoy that saved Malta from surrender (1942).
  4. st francis of paola chapel
    The miraculous crossing of St Francis on a mantlefrom Calabria to Sicily (1716).
  5. fall of jesus under the cross
    A papier-mâché statue dressed in rich velvet clothes – one of a set of five attributed to Giuseppe Serpotta (early 1700).
  6. the tombstones
    Executed mostly by local craftsmen by a juxtaposition of colourful rich marbles (xvii-xix century).
    the organ
    Manufactured by Werner Bosch Orgelbau GmbH, Hessen has 812 pipes (1955).
  7. the vault
    Is covered by a total of 69 paintings. Pendentives beneath dome by Ignazio Cortis (1888) – all the rest by Gianni Vella (1909 to 1917).
  8. santa marija
    The Assumption of the Virgin Mary (Rome, 1897)on a solid silver plinth (1962). Taken shoulder-high in a procession every 15 August.
  9. st philip neri chapel
    St Philip meditating the Nativity (1852) with a noteworthy marble altar, the finest in the side chapels.
  10. north entrance chapel
    The dome depicts The patron saints of the town and villages of Gozo paying homage to the Assumption.
  11. st joseph chapel
    The Flight into Egypt with Mary and the child Jesus (1792).
  12. the last supper
    North transept – possibly the masterpiece of Giuseppe D’Arena (1703). In the oval, St Lucy amid exquisite stone sculptures.
  13. blessed sacrament chapel
    Nuestra Señora de la Soledad (1751).
  14. the choir
    With the presbytery form the Sanctuary (cordoned off area). The Assumption altarpiece by Michele Busuttil (1791), crowned (1975); solid silver cornice (2013).
  15. the presbytery
    High Altar inlaid with malachite (Rome, 1858). Table-Altar (2000). Monument to Pope Blessed Pius IX (1864).
  16. the trompe l’œil dome
    Created by Antonino Emanuele of Catania (1739), restored (2019). Malta’s most spectacular perspective painting.
  17. st ursula chapel
    St Ursula extending her protection over Gozo (1851). Statue of St Ursula holding the palm of martyrdom (Salamanca, 1614).
  18. blessed virgin mary of rosary
    South transept – with St Domenic and Saint Catherine of Siena (Rome, 1663). In the oval, St Catherine of Alexandria.
  19. holy relics chapel
    Transfiguration of Christ (Rome, 1673). Crucifix in wood (Palermo, 1557). Feretory with relics of saints. In the dome, four salient moments in the history of the Cathedral.
  20. cathedral museum entrance
    Through Vestry.

Cathedral Museum Tour

The Cathedral Museum is on the east side of the church and its entrance is either from inside the Cathedral Church or from TRIQ IL-FOSOS, a few metres away from the Cathedral’s north entrance.

The Museum, inaugurated on 21 October 1979 and renovated in 2021, has three levels (accessible by lift).

  • SILVER VAULT – LEVEL 1: A wide variety of ecclesiastical silverware.
    Star exhibits: medieval pyx; medieval image of the Virgin Mary painted on leather encased in a silver reliquary; and twelve huge solid silver candlesticks plus a matching crucifix.
    Star exhibits: Doric column from the temple of Juno (I cent BC) unearthed from Cathedral foundations; medieval tombstones from the Matrice cemetery; and Bishop’s Landau (London, 1860s).
  • PICTURE GALLERY – LEVEL 3: Some sixty paintings of historic and artistic value
    Star exhibits: Sancta Maria retable, a three-tiered tempera on wood (XVI cent); Flight into Egypt, by a northern artist (1600s).

External Cathedral Tour

  • THE CATHEDRAL, a fine baroque structure with an excellent façade, was raised in the form of a Latin cross between 1697 and 1711 on the summit of Iċ-Ċittadella.
  • CAMPANILE, attached to its north-east side, houses a set of five bells (2003) – the largest is over four tonnes. Bell-ringing at noon on special occasions.
  • FIRST CHURCH on site raised upon the remains of a Roman temple. A Byzantine structure (535+) was replaced by a mosque during Arab rule (870+), and transformed by the Normans (1127+) into a church, rebuilt from 1697 onwards.
    Dedicated to: Santa Marija – The Assumption
    • Architect: Lorenzo Cafà (1639-1703)
    • Foundation stone: 21 September 1697
    • Inauguration: 14 August 1711
    • Dedication: 11 October 1716
    • Cathedral of Gozo: 16 September 1866