Si Trova: a Messina
Lat: 38° 11' 18.18229" N - Long: 15° 33' 24.49526" E
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The Santa Maria degli Alemanni church is the highest expression of Gothic art in the entire Mediterranean area; the ogival cross vaults, the slender columns make it a unique building in Sicily, leaving astonished the visitors.
It was built around 1220 by workers from northern Europe to provide the Teutonic Knights, engaged in crusades, with a place to stop.
The knights settled here until 1485 and used the hospice, attached to the church at the time, to welcome the veterans from the Holy Land and provide them with care.
About the ancient hospital, there remains only a small trace consisting of an ogival arch and a fragment of a wall near the apses of the church.
In this hospital, in 1571, after the battle of Lepanto, the writer Miguel de Cervantes, wich few years later wrote the famous opera Don Quixote of La Mancha, found shelter there.
Already in 1606 both the church and the hospital were in a state of neglect.
After suffering the damage of several earthquakes, and after being struck by lightning in 1612, it remained undamaged in the earthquake of 1908, and since then the church is at a lower level than the street level.
In 1911, due to requirements imposed by the new Town Plan, the west elevation was incredibly demolished and the building was shortened in length.
In the 1950s what was left of it was recomposed.
After the 1994 restoration work, the west elevation was rebuilt in glass.
Since 2001 the church has reopened to public and inside it hosts various cultural initiatives.
Its original portals are kept in the Town Museum.
Note the many inscriptions both in the vernacular and in Latin.
The church is open from Monday to Saturday from 9:30 to 17:30.
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