The Siracusa Cathedral, A True Piece Of Ancient History And A Once-In-A-Lifetime Experience.
The Siracusa Cathedral. A gleaming centerpiece in one of Sicily's prettiest town squares. This dazzling church will give you the opportunity to have a look at every phase of architecture that has ever been a part of Italy's history. Got a couple of hours? Take some time to absorb its details. I couldn't help but recognize it's many styles in all the other religious buildings I visited from Trento to Taranto.
This fascinating building actually existed before Christianity. Some say it began as a place of worship for the ancient Sikel tribes. There are traces of their huts in Via Minerva. In Syracuse, Greek settlers built a temple in 480BC, to thank the goddess Athena for helping them defeat the Carthaginians at sea. You still can see ten of the original 36 columns along the left wall.
The shrine became one of the richest, and was robbed over and over again. In the first century Roman praetor Gaius Licinius Verres carried out an unusually nasty looting and pillaging of the Cathedral. He destroyed paintings of some early Sicilian kings, some of the first examples of European portraits.
No one knows for sure when the temple became a Christian church. It was named the cathedral of Siracusa in 640AD. Over the next few centuries, this beautiful building collected an enormous amount of art and assorted valuables. When the Arab Saracens came into town in the mid 800s, they made off with 5,000 pounds of gold and 10,000 pounds of silver. To make matters worse,the Cathedral was used as a mosque for over a century.
Rescued from by the Normans, she was converted back to Christianity. The cathedral was rocked by earthquakes, in 1542 and 1693. The 1693 earthquake almost completely demolished the cathedral. It was so damaging that half of Sicily had to be rebuilt. At that time the cathedral was completely renovated and remodeled. It was decorated with statues by the great Sicilian sculptor Ignazio Marabitti.
No Mediterranean vacation is complete without stopping in to see this amazing Sicily attraction. Take the time to experience Syracuse, Sicily. Especially the remarkable Siracusa Cathedral.
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