Religious building

Basilica di San Nicola (duomo)

Largo Abate Elia, 13, Bari

St. Nicholas's Basilica is one of the most shining examples of Apulian Romanesque architecture. It was built between 1087 and 1100, during Norman rule. Its building is related to St. Nicholas's relics translated by sixty-two sailors from the city of Myra, in Lycia, to Bari on May 9, 1087. The main facade is divided into three by pilasters and crowned by arches, with mullioned windows open at the top and bottom by three portals, median canopy on columns richly carved. Two bell towers sawed-off a different cut line the facade. The sides are characterized by deep blind arches and rich ports. Inside Basilica develops a Latin cross, with longitudinal body divided into three aisles by twelve columns. The nave, with trussed roof, is marked by three transverse arches added in the fifteenth century after an earthquake. Above the arches there is matroneum. The ceiling is carved and gilded frames accompanied with seventeenth century paintings. The altar is surmounted by a ciborium of the twelfth century. In central apse the floor is inlaid marble with oriental motifs and dates back to XII century, as well as marble episcopal chair. To the right are triptych by Andrea Rico Candia of the fifteenth century and rich altar of St. Nicholas, embossed in silver foil of 1684; on the left stands a shovel of altar surmounted by a coping by Bartolomeo Vivarini, of 1476. Ciborium above the altar, built before 1150, is the oldest of Apulia. Basilica also houses one of the greatest sculptural masterpieces of Romanesque style: Chair of Elijah, made at the end of the eleventh century. Crypt is supported by 26 columns with Romanesque capitals and houses St. Nicholas's body, one of the most venerated saints among Orthodox Christians, so that Basilica is one of the few places frequented by faithful belonging to different Christian denominations. A legend says that it was built to hide Holy Grail.

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