Medieval Chapels 

Chapel at Santa Cecilia, Gozo       

A number of chapels dating back to the medieval period can be found scattered in the countryside of the Maltese Islands. They are in their majority composed of a nave only and usually have a roof resting on a number of pointed arches.  The best known chapel is certainly that dedicated to the Annunciation at Hal-Millieri where a number of wall frescoes (see picture below) have been uncovered.

Fresco of St. George at Hal-Millieri
Other chapels dating back to this period include those of Ta' Ceppuna (Marsa), Ta' Bakkari (Zurrieq), Santa Cecilia (Ghajnsielem) and Bir Miftuh (Gudja). Not all the chapels dating back to this period were free-standing. Caves were also adopted as chapels. At Lunzjata in the limits of Rabat, one finds a troglodytic chapel probably dating back to the beginning of the thirteenth century. Dedicated to St. Leonardís this cave church has a semi-circular plan and like other cave-churches in the Rabat area shows evidence for mural paintings. An apse is hewn out of the rock in the eastern part of the cave and contains a painted statue of St. Leonard. The side-walls of the cave have rock-cut benches, an architectural detail which was later reproduced in free-standing medieval churches.


Cave Church of St. Leonard
Medieval troglodytic churches can be found in various localities around the islands. San Niklaw (Mellieha), Ghar Hanzir (Qormi), and St. Agatha (Rabat) are three of the more interesting cave-churches which can still be visited

Contact author by E-Mail