The Ta Pinu Basilica is one of the most famous churches in Malta with thousands of pilgrims coming there to ask for intercession and mercy of the Virgin Mary, since the church is dedicated to the Mother of God. The church is one of a few places in the world officially recognized by the Vatican as a national shrine, where miracles are performed. In addition to its religious significance, the basilica has great cultural value and is generally recognized as a popular tourist attraction due to its beautiful design and finery.
According to historians, in the XVI century there was a chapel dedicated to the Assumption of Our Lady on the site of the church, but they failed to find any information about the time and the history of its construction. At the end of the 16th century, the church got the new procurator Pinu Gauci, who funded rebuilding of the chapel, which was in rather poor condition then. At the beginning of the 17th century, the rebuilding was completed and the church took the name after the main benefactor. At the same time an altarpiece was painted, showing the Assumption of Our Lady, which became widely known later thanks to some miracles performed by the Virgin Mary.
The first and most famous of them took place in 1883, when a local woman heard the Virgin Mary’s voice coming from the altarpiece. Over the next few years, believers witnessed several faith healings, while the entire island of Gozo miraculously escaped the plague, which devastated many other places.
This resulted in building the magnificent present church (1920-1931) funded by the parish. However, the old chapel along with the miraculous altarpiece was retained and comprised by the new building. Soon, the church got title of basilica from the Pope and was recognized as the only national shrine in Malta.
Currently, visitors can observe the chapel and the altarpiece in the depths of the modern church, as well as a large number of mosaics, stained-glass windows, statues and other decorative elements, which are typical to Romanesque Revival architecture. Also, the church houses a kind of a small museum exposing multiple votive offerings to the Virgin Mary, thus confirming miracles attributed to her mercy. The church exterior is striking in its beauty and splendor, making an impressive architectural ensemble along with the 61-meter bell tower. Near the basilica there is a garden with beautiful statues, which deserves a long walk due to its picturesque views.