Peer into the pages of history at the Parish Church of Mellieħa, the pride and joy of this northern town. The church, also called the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, is high on the rocks, with a stunning view over beautiful Mellieħa Bay.
Mellieħa had a renaissance in the 19th century under British colonialism. Its beautiful parish church was built during this time. The construction of the church was a big event, with local villagers hauling pieces of stone up from the nearby quarry. This gives it a more modern appearance than other churches you’ll see in Malta, although its design is timeless. Venture inside to find an elegant interior, with gorgeous tiled floors, a high ceiling and white and gold details all around.
The construction of the Mellieħa Church was a major project for the community. Their love and attention to it is evident. Note its huge dome and five bells, installed gradually during the 20th century. Artworks from Maltese artists who were renowned at the time are featured.
During the centuries of abandonment and constant threat of attack from corsairs who traveled the Mediterranean Sea, the few people who lived in the area needed a sacred place to visit. This was the Sanctuary of Our Lady, which you can visit today, on the southern side of the church. Its fresco of the Madonna was said to have been painted by St. Luke. The Sanctuary, reputedly blessed by St. Paul, is richly decorated with sacred and votive objects, such as small icons with burning candles all around. Below the Sanctuary, go even deeper to a small and intimate grotto with a shrine to Mary.
A visit to Mellieħa Church can encompass all these places, which tell the stories of the hardy folk who lived here through the years near the sea. When you finish admiring the church, have a coffee or pastizzi at the café next door.