6. Malta Bus Tour to Aviation Museum, Mosta Church & Shelters
During this tour, you will travel onboard a traditional Maltese Bus known by the locals as ‘Xarabank’. These buses were built by Maltese Bus Builders during the 1950s to the 1970s and came in all kinds of colours, to overcome illiteracy - red, purple, blue...all depending on the locality they served. This tradition persisted until eventually bus numbers came into place. Traditional Maltese bus decoration consisted of different designs and typography. This included designs in paint; passenger messages on the interior and exterior of the bus, names of patron saints, song lyrics, slogans and many more. There were also plenty of chrome and accessories, such as flags and good luck symbols. Nowadays, these colourful buses are rarely seen, used only on special occasions such as weddings & tourist events.
During this tour you will first visit The Aviation Museum, an aircraft museum situated on the site of the former Royal Air Force airfield in the village of Ta'Qali. The museum, based in three hangars, covers the history of aviation on the island with exhibits, particularly from the Second World War and post-war periods. The museum is involved in the preservation and restoration of aircraft, some of which are in airworthy condition.
You will then visit the Mosta Rotunda, a Roman Catholic Church dedicated to the Assumption of Our Lady. The design is based on the Pantheon in Rome, has the third largest unsupported dome in the world and is Malta's largest and most famous church. The church narrowly avoided destruction during World War II when on 9 April 1942 a German aerial bomb pierced the dome and fell into the church during Mass, but failed to explode. This event was interpreted by the Maltese as a miracle, although many bombs failed to explode. During your visit you will admire the sacristies, the various objects of prestige, a large-scale model of the church and a replica of the bomb. You will also go up to the portico, to the bell tower & enter in the inner gallery of the the church.
Your last stop will be the World War II Shelter that skirts the Mosta Church parvis. The Shelter which was opened recently, was dug by hand in 1940 by 15 highly-skilled workmen. Families used this shelter during World War II to protect themselves from the many and continuous air raids. The complex also boasts an exhibition of tools and implements related to old trades. At the end of the tour, you will also enjoy some local savouries.