Lat: 37° 3' 34.88902" N - Long: 15° 17' 35.90415" E
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The Cathedral of Syracuse, overlooking the very elegant main square, stands on the highest part of the island of Ortigia; here there was a temple dedicated to Athena.
It's amazing to still see the columns of the ancient temple set between the walls of the church.
The only remaining example of its kind, it gives an idea about the dimensions of ancient Greek temples.
The temple of Athena is of Doric order and was erected in the fifth century BC by the tyrant Gelone, following the victory against the Carthaginians in the battle of Himera.
The Athenaion was spotted already at a great distance from the ancient Greek sailors because of the great shield that was on the top.
His fame was great because it was one of the most beautiful temples in the whole Greek world, and it was very white.
It had 6 columns on the short sides and 14 on the long ones.
Inside the current Cathedral, nine columns on the right side of the periptero and two in front of the old cell are visible.
The temple was preceded by a place of worship dating back to the eighth century BC, with an altar brought to light in the excavations of the early twentieth century, and by a first temple of the mid-sixth century BC.
Already in the seventh century it was transformed into a church.
The church, of Byzantine form, was dedicated to the Nativity of Mary and incorporated the colonnade of the temple in the external walls, while in the inner walls of the ancient cell 8 arches were opened per side, so as to realize a building with three naves each concluded from an apse on the bottom.
The orientation of the building was also overturned and the current facade of the Cathedral occupies the back of the temple.
In Norman times the walls of the central nave were raised and the apse was decorated with mosaics.
After the damage caused by the 1693 earthquake, the apses were eliminated and the presbytery was occupied by a large Baroque altar.
In 1728 the reconstruction of the facade in baroque forms was begun.
Today we discover...
Grifeo Castle of Partanna
One of the best preserved western Sicilian castles
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