Il-Knisja f'Għawdex

Għarb Basilica

The Parish / Church

The Għarb Parish Church is dedicated to the Visitation of Our Lady. With a rich history dating back to its construction between 1699 and 1729, the church stands as a significant religious and cultural landmark in Għarb, playing witness to the community's milestones. Architecturally, the church is a standout masterpiece. It follows the baroque style, featuring intricate stonework, ornate decorations, and an imposing façade that distinguishes it within the village.Culturally, the church is deeply interwoven with the local identity, shaping festivals, processions, and religious events that define the village's traditions. In terms of religious importance, the dedication of the church to the Visitation of Our Lady holds a special place. This devotion is integral to Catholicism, commemorating the biblical event of Mary's visit to her cousin Elizabeth while both were pregnant. Visitors can gain a deeper understanding of its historical, architectural, cultural, and religious significance. The church stands not only as a testament to the community's faith but also as a place of visual and spiritual inspiration.

Main religious festivities (eg village feast)

Għarb hosts a prominent religious event, the Feast of the Visitation, observed annually on the initial Sunday of July. This festivity honours the dedication of the Parish Church to Our Lady’s Visitation and holds great significance for both locals and tourists from across Gozo and Malta. The Feast of the Visitation manifests as a lively and colourful convergence of religious devotion, cultural heritage, and communal unity. Over multiple days, diverse activities transpire, encompassing religious rites, processions, and cultural engagements.

The village undergoes a transformation with festive embellishments, comprising banners, flags, and intricate street decorations. Radiant lights and lanterns bedeck the streets, fostering a spirited and jubilant environment. Processions traverse Għarb’s streets, bearing statues and relics. The paramount procession unfolds on the primary feast day, featuring the Visitation of Our Lady’s statue carried by devotees. This spectacle includes marching bands and fireworks, amplifying the atmosphere of jubilation.

Exceptional church services occur throughout the event, including Masses and religious ceremonies honouring Our Lady’s Visitation. These gatherings amass a significant worshipper attendance, presenting an occasion for contemplation and prayer. The Feast of the Visitation encompasses a variety of cultural engagements that showcase Għarb’s heritage. Musical performances, traditional dances, craft exhibitions, and local culinary stalls grant visitors an immersive cultural experience.

The Għarb Feast of the Visitation is a pivotal juncture uniting the community to celebrate their faith and cultural heritage. It offers a distinctive prospect for visitors to immerse themselves in the vibrant customs and deep-rooted religious fervour of Għarb’s populace.

Specific noteworthy art/religious pieces

When exploring the Għarb Parish Church, you’ll encounter a captivating array of art and religious artifacts that enrich its interior. Notable highlights encompass graceful altarpieces portraying diverse religious scenes. A standout is the 1729 painting by Gian Nicola Buhagiar on the high altar, depicting the Visitation of Our Lady. This focal piece underscores the church’s dedication and the celebrated feast in Għarb. The church houses an assortment of statues and sculptures, capturing religious figures and narratives. Noteworthy is the 1853 statue of the Visitation of Our Lady by Giuseppe Vella, a central figure in the Feast of the Visitation processions. The presence of other statues, including Saint Joseph, St. Anthony, and St. Demetrius, further enriches the sacred atmosphere. Various shrines and altars house revered relics and objects of veneration. These items hold profound religious meaning and are cherished by the faithful. Notable among these are shrines dedicated to specific saints, potentially containing sacred artifacts. The church’s interior boasts intricate embellishments, featuring ornate carvings, gilded accents, and meticulous woodwork. These decorative elements amplify the grandeur and aesthetic allure, establishing an exquisite space for spiritual contemplation and worship.

Please bear in mind that the availability and precise artworks may vary. It’s recommended to visit the Għarb Parish Church to personally experience these cultural and religious treasures.

The Patron Saint & the Titular Statue

The titular statue of the Għarb Parish Church represents the Visitation of Our Lady. The Visitation of Our Lady refers to the biblical event described in the Gospel of Luke (1:39-56), where the Virgin Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth, who was pregnant with John the Baptist. The feast commemorates this visit and the joyful encounter between the two expectant mothers. The titular statue of the Visitation of Our Lady is an important religious artwork housed within the Għarb Parish Church. The statue depicts the Virgin Mary and her cousin Elizabeth, often shown embracing or in a pose of greeting. The statue is typically adorned with ornate clothing and may be embellished with precious materials and jewels, reflecting its significance as a religious icon. During religious processions and the Feast of the Visitation, the statue of the Visitation of Our Lady is carried through the streets of Għarb, accompanied by devotees and accompanied by music and fireworks. It serves as a focal point for devotion and veneration during these religious celebrations. The presence of the titular statue of the Visitation of Our Lady in the Għarb Parish Church emphasizes the devotion to Mary and the significance of this biblical event within the religious and cultural traditions of Għarb.of Our Lady of Succour, can be found in its permanent niche sited just beside the main door of the church.

Directions to Għarb Basilica

Għarb Basilica
Kura Funded by the European Union