Ta’ Pinu Sanctuary is between Gharb and Ghammar, surrounded by open countryside. It is an important pilgrimage site with a large modern church built over the small chapel where a local girl, Karmni Grima, heard the voice of the Virgin Mary in 1883. Over the following years miracles were attributed to Our Lady of The Assumption, to whom the chapel was dedicated. Word spread and the chapel became an important centre of pilgrimage for the sick. When it became too small, the Shrine of Our Lady of Ta' Pinu was built between 1920 and 1931 in front of the original chapel.
There is a huge car park with a lot of cars in it when we visited. There were large notices outside the church about not wearing shorts and making sure arms were covered. There were quite a few people sitting in the church praying or meditating.
It is a very large and ornately carved building outside with a big porch and side aisles; completely different to the earlier Baraoque churches. There is a separate tall slender clock tower and bell tower.
The inside is plain limestone and the pillars have elaborately carved tops and arches with a frieze of carved animals and birds. There is a big mass altar with four pillars supporting a canopy with carved figures above. The box shaped pulpit of marble is supported on four marble pillars.
At the back of the church, through an archway with a mosaic pattern of saints and flower designs and a large statue framed by pillars and arches, is the original small church which contains Karmni Grima’s tomb and the 17thC painting of the Virgin Mary above the altar which spoke to her. A walkway and rooms round the back of the church are full of offerings and framed letters of thanks to the Virgin for answering prayers. The offerings include everything from plaster casts to baby clothes. Weddings in Gozo end with the bridal bouquet being placed on the altar of Ta' Pinu, for a happy marriage.
We didn't particularly like the building. The overal architectural style didn't really work for us. The inside of the building felt large and a bit soulless. It is very obvious it is very important to the Gozoans.
The remains of a 19thC AQUEDUCT can be seen on the side of road between Victoria and Ta’ Pinu. it supplied fresh water from Ghar Ilam hill to the central water reservoir in Victoria citadel. It fell into disrepair once electricity was used to pump water.