Towns and Villages. Index
Visitation Parish Church
The parish of Gharb was at first established during the Bishopric of Michael Molina on 29 August 1679, the second parish to be established outside the town of Rabat. Its first seat was the still standing chapel of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, commonly known as taz-Zejt. This proved too small and the parishioners decided to build a new church. Its foundation stone was laid in 1699 and the parish seat was transferred to the new church around 1729. It was consecrated on 28 September 1755. On 19 May 1774, the second Collegiate of Gozo was founded at Gharb and the parish church became also archipresbyterial. It has an imposing concave facade and is built in the form of a Greek Cross. The titular picture by the Maltese Francesco Zahra, was donated by Grandmaster De Vilhena and the baptismal font is from the old pre 15th century earthquake Cathedral of Mdina in Malta.
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Assumption ta' Dbiegi
This particular chapel documented in 1598, stood on ta' Dbiegi, the highest peak of the island. It was so popular among the devotees that once they bequeathed enough property for a Mass to be celebrated every week there. The chapel was one of the few with a bell cot. Out of devotion to Our Lady, some people, amongst them Don Ang Modlun, Pastor of San Gorg, chose to be buried there. It was deconsecrated in 1657.

Assumption ta' San Dimitri
Stood in the locality known as San Dimitri close to Gharb. In 1608 it was noted that it had already been in ruins for forty years.

Assumption Ta'Pinu Sanctuary
A chapel stood on the spot even from before 1545, the year that the chapel had just been rebuilt. It was deconsecrated in 1575 by Mons.Dusina, but through the efforts of Pinu Gauci, (hence its nickname), it was restored to a very good condition after 1615. It was probably deconsecrated again in 1665 and by 1676 it was nearly a ruin. However it was soon restored. Until the middle of the 1730's the locals and the noble family De Piro took care of it. Again for years it was neglected but again thanks to a few devotees it was saved from ruin. The present Sanctuary is a place of pilgrimage for the Maltese. Its origins go back to June 1883 when a peasant woman was alleged to have heard the voice of the Virgin Mary in the old chapel. In the following years, many miracles and acts of grace were said to be manifested at the site. It was believed that the prayers said in the chapel saved Gozo from the plague which had stricken Malta at that time. The locals therefore decided to build a larger and more magnificent church on the site in honour of the Blessed Virgin. Funds were raised by Gozitans and expatriates. Work on the new church began in 1920, with voluntary labour from the local community. In 1931, Ta' Pinu was consecrated and a year later Pope Pius XI raised it to the status of Basilica. The original 16th century chapel was fully integrated into the new church. One can see it at the far end behind the main altar, full of its original paintings and votive tablets. The titular painting is from 1619 and is by Bartolomeo Amadeo Perugino. The church, with its fine tower, was built in Romanesque style and dominates the skyline.
Assumption sanctuary ta' Pinu

Left: The old chapel in the 1900's

Right: The same old chapel integrated behind the Sanctuary of the new church.

Below: The church outside, inside and back view.
St.Demetrius San Dimitri
This small church is built on the edge of a promontory close to a cliff called Ras San Mitri. An older chapel had been built by Dun Frangisk Depena early in the 15th century. However, Bishop Miguel Balaguer Camarasa deconsecrated it in 1657 and it fell into disrepair. In 1736, Dun Mario Vella caused it to be rebuilt, leaving an annual legacy for its maintenance. On 11th April, 1809 the archpriest of Gharb, Dun Publius Refalo, blessed the chapel on behalf of Bishop Ferdinando Mattei. At the start of WWII, at the request of the procurator Dun Paul Formosa, Papas Schiro parish priest of the Greek Catholic community, celebrated Mass at this chapel that bears the name of a Greek saint. The feast in honour of St.Demetrius is celebrated on the Sunday following the 9th October.
St.Demetrius San Dimitri
This church was built in the 1850's in Ghammar village over an older church which was dedicated to St.Leonard and which had been deconsecrated in 1644.
Church of St.Publius
Transfiguration of Our Lord Wied il-Mielah
A chapel dedicated to the Assumption stood at Wied il-Mielah, limits of Gharb. It had been built by a Andrea Apap, who also bequeathed property for its upkeep. The feast day was celebrated in August when wheat bread was also handed out. In 1639, the chapel was rededicated to the Transfiguration of Our Lord.

Visitation ta' Santu Pietru
An Assumption church existed close to Gharb at Santu Pietru. The Gharb community had such a great devotion to the Visitation that about 1615 the dedication was changed to this title of Our Lady.

Visitation taz-Zejt
Gharb was established a Parish on 29th August 1679 by Bishop Molina and the old 16th century church known today as 'Taz-Zejt', served as the first parish church for fifty years. The present church with its adjacent cemetery was constructed in 1678 on the foundations of an older one which was already in a very good condition in 1575 according to Mons.Dusina's records. It is called 'Taz-Zejt' because of a legend that alleges the curing of an old woman who spread some oil she saw pouring out of the side of the church, over her body. The reports of the pastoral visits of 1608, 1615 and 1630 clearly prove that it was very well looked after. Wheat bread was distributed to the congregation on the feast day. Only once in 1657 when the people were too poor to see to its maintenance, was the chapel deconsecrated, even so, six years later it was blessed again and opened for Liturgy.
Visitation church taz-Zejt