Mosta Dome; Mosta, Malta
The Rotunda of St Marija Assunta (sometimes shortened to Mosta Dome) is a church in Mosta, Malta; built in the 19th century on the site of a previous church, it was designed by the Maltese architect Giorgio Grognet. Its dome is among the largest in the world, with a diameter of 37 meters (122ft).
Grongnet's plans were closely based on the Pantheon in Rome. Construction began in May 1833 and was not completed until the 1860s. The original church was left in place while the Rotunda was built around it, allowing the local people to still have a place of worship while the new church was being built.
On April 9, 1942, during an afternoon air-raid, a 200kg Luftwaffe bomb pierced the dome (two others bounced off) and fell among the congregation of more than 300 people, awaiting early evening mass. It did not explode. Its replica is now on display inside the Rotunda under the words Il-Miraklu Tal-Bomba, 9 Ta April 1942 (Maltese:The Bomb Miracle, April 9, 1942).
There are 365 Catholic Churches on the island of Malta, many of them very large and impressive buildings. One reason they are so large is that when the local parish needs a new church they build it around the existing one and when it is finished knock down the old church and remove it bit by bit through the doors of the new one!