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Report 2011: Gozo, Calypso’s Isle

By Eleanor from UK, Spring 2012

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Page 6 of 26: Victoria - Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

photo by MAW

Looking down the nave to the High Altar

Tickets for the cathedral and museum are bought from the small ticket office and shop near the Archaeology Museum.

The Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is reached up a long flight of stairs, flanked by statues of Pope Pius IX and John Paul II. It was built at the start of the 18thC and is a fairly plain building with a massive frontage and a tall bell tower at the rear of the building. Lack of funds meant it was built without a dome.

We had a quick peep in the Cathedral after the service finished on Sunday. The nave was full of chairs and the place had a vibrancy to it. We went back in a couple of days later. The nave had been cleared of chairs which were piled up at the sides of the church and everywhere was roped off. It now felt dead and a bit disappointing. At least we could see the elaborate marble memorial tombstones on the floor.

The inside has limestone block walls and massive undecorated pillars supporting plain round arches. There is a painted ceiling with pale beige ribs decorated with red squares with a gold flower in centre and gold border round them. Crystal chandeliers hang from the ceiling. The most interesting feature is the Trompe L'Oeil effect of a low dome above nave, which only works if seen from the nave.

There is a small free standing mass altar made of marble with large altar behind with massive silver candlesticks. The apse behind has a small altar and paintings round the walls. There are carved wooden choir stalls. There is a small ground floor pulpit made of white marble with gold decoration and a small brass font. There are elaborate side altars along the walls, some with statues lying under them.

The north side altar and chapel are very ornate and contain a box covered with embroidered material containing the host as well as two wall mounted tombs. At the back is a small carved balcony with the organ. There are big statues at the west end of the side aisles; Christ carrying a cross, and the Virgin supported by cherubim.

We didn’t visit the Cathedral Museum. There seemed to be a degree of uncertainty regarding what time it opened and there were other things we wanted to do.

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