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Basilica of Our Lady of Victory
In 1581 Senglea built a church dedicated to the Nativity of Our Lady as a monument to the Christian Victory over Islam in 1565. This church became a parish in the same year, and work to enlarge it was commenced on the 8th September 1595. It was officially consecrated in 1743, proclaimed Collegiata Insigni in 1783, and honoured with the title of Basilica by Pope Benedict XV in 1921. A small chapel dedicated to the Purification of Our Lady, built and annexed to the Basilica in 1750 was rebuilt after being destroyed in the Second World War.

The origin of the church’s centrepiece the Statue of Our Lady (the Bambina) is not clear. Some hold that it arrived at around 1618 on board a galley that had cut its journey short because of bad weather. Others believe that it is the adapted figurehead of some carrack, or one of about 150 ship figureheads produced by sculptor Vincenzo Bonnici from his workshop in Victory Street. Whatever its origin, it is unquestionably a striking work of art, and throughout the years it has been enriched with gold artefacts and precious stones that were donated by the faithful as a result of fulfilled vows.

The Basilica was completely demolished during World War II and reconstructed in the 1950’s.
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