St Dominic’s Church

St. Dominic Street, Valletta

St Dominic’s Church in Valletta is synonymous with one of the biggest celebrations that takes place in the city come summer. Celebrated on the last Sunday of July, it includes a mixture of solemnly marked religious festivities alongside the more boisterous ones that usually culminate in the cheerful marches by the La Valette and King’s Own bands.

But of course, there’s a lot more behind the devotion to St Dominic’s than just the festivities. The land on which the church is built was donated by the knights, and the architecture is the work of the renowned Girolamo Cassar. With construction finishing in 1571, the church was declared the main parish church of Valletta and its building dedicated to Our Lady of Porto Salvo – which translates to safe haven, as a thanks for all the sailors that managed to reach the nearby harbour without falling to harm.

However, the original church building was shut down in 1780 after being declared unsafe. Twenty-five years later, a new construction was consecrated. To date, the church is still administered by the Dominican Order, which still have their convent in the adjoining building overlooking St Nicholas Street.

St Dominic’s Church – the festivities

Should you be visiting Malta on St Dominic’s weekend, don’t be shy of joining the festivities. While most guides will urge you to attend fireworks or evening band marches, if you’d like a true taste of St Dominic’s feast, it’s the Saturday morning band march that you need to join. It all kicks off at about 10AM near the main entrance to the church – be warned, it’s not for the faint hearted. And, given this is the least religious part of the feast, expect much loud music, dancing and beer-drinking!

Worth mentioning is the ongoing friendly rivalry between St Dominic’s Church parishioners and the nearby St Paul’s Church. Friendly it might be, but it doesn’t stop St Paul’s parishioners from packing up to spend the weekend in Gozo, when Dominican celebrations are in full swing, just so they don’t have to watch their nemesis having fun!

Opening Hours

Mass only
Mass only
Mass only
Mass only
Mass only
Mass only
Mass only

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