With 359 churches on the island of Malta, there is no denying that there is something for everyone. Whether you’re into great architecture, art or you just love the peace and quiet you can get from visiting a church, Malta has it all. But what if bling is more your thing?
Let’s take a look at the island’s glitziest places of worship.
1. St. Paul’s Shipwreck, Valletta
St Paul the Apostle is considered the spiritual father of the Maltese people, so what better way to celebrate him than with a church packed to the rafters with bling?
Not only does this church play host to the wrist bone of the saint (set inside a gold replica of his arm, of course), but it also has the column from Rome on which he was beheaded. A copy of the Saint’s head has been placed on top of it, cast in gold and silver, making a really gory part of history way more visually appealing.
Everywhere you turn in this fairly small church, you’ll find jewel-encrusted statues of saints or gold and silver medallions. It’s a must-see for any magpies.
Bling Factor: 3.5 / 5
2. St. John’s Co-Cathedral, Valletta
Situated in the heart of Valletta, this Roman Catholic church looks pretty plain from the outside, but don’t let that fool you. As soon as you step inside, prepare to be wowed!
This Baroque masterpiece is jam-packed with bling. From the funerary monument of Grand Master Marc’Antonio Zondadari nephew of Pope Alexander VII, which is covered in gold leaf, through to the main altar which is adorned with a starburst of gold and positioned in between two entirely gold pulpits, this church has got it going on!
Even the tassels on the drapes are gold. Marvel at the beautiful frescoed ceilings, whilst walking across marble tombstones and keep a pair of sunglasses to hand, because if the glorious Maltese sun shines through the gold (obviously), porthole windows then you will need them!
Bling Factor: 4 / 5
3. St. George’s Basilica, Gozo
The Basilica is also known as “The gold church:, which is definitely a promising sign when we’re talking about all things glitter and gold.
The entire church is covered in marble and gold stucco. The gloriously ornate archways and twisting gold columns are draped in red curtains, giving the whole church a very theatrical vibe.
Because it has a basilica status, that means it has an Umbraculum, which is essentially an umbrella that shows the church’s affiliation with the Pope. Made from wine and gold-coloured fabric, with gold fringing around the edges, it is used in festival processions throughout the year and looks incredibly regal.
Something that St George’s has that the other churches in this article don’t, is a Tintinnabulum. A what, I hear you ask? This is a bell mounted onto a pole and is another link to the Pope. Although it doesn’t sound very bling, this one is entirely made from silver and is a whole lot of shiny, precious metal.
Bling Factor: 4.5 / 5
4. Cathedral of the Assumption of Our Lady, Rabat
OK, so if regal-chic is your thing, then this is the church for you.
With glorious blue and red drapes, adorned with gold and silver crowns, outlining the vast majority of the naves, you’ll need plenty of time to simply take in the breath-taking beauty hosted within these walls.
Huge chandeliers dripping with crystals light up the dark corners and make everything sparkle. Sterling silver candle sticks adorn the alters and draw your eye towards the large, gilt-framed paintings in the chapels.
Beautiful stained-glass windows let just the right amount of light into the cathedral, making it dance across the marble flooring and gold-leaf frescoes. An absolute masterpiece and our island’s blingiest church. Fight me.