Images of the Cathedral, Siracusa, Sicily--interior and exterior

Interior of the Syracuse Cathedral: Interior--page 1 (of 5 pages)

Temple of Athena, erected in 480 BCE by Gelon, forms the basis of the church built by Byzantine Christians on Ortygia island. Later constructions include side chapels on the south, narthex and Baroque facade (1728-54)

See plan, modified from Blue Guide to Sicily

While the front here is the later Baroque facade, the side clearly shows the original 480 BCE construction with the Doric columns of the peristyle incorporated into the exterior walls. The space between the columns was obviously closed by the new wall. The side aisle (interior) below also shows the original columns. It is unclear when the ruined temple became a Christian church although it was named as the Cathedral of Syracuse in 640 CE by Bishop Zosimus. In the 800's it became a mosque with the domination of the Arab Saracens but was rescued later by the Normans. The roof of the nave and a few surviving mosaics are from Norman times. The last enemy to the cathedral was the earthquake of 1693, after which much was rebuilt, with the spectacular Baroque facade added in the second quarter of the eighteenth century.

Below left and center: north (left) side aisle looking toward the front entrance


Left: north (left) side aisle looking toward the apse

The three marble statues are by the Antonello Gagini, Domenico Gagini and the Gagini school.

The south (right) aisle

Arches were opened up in the wall of the original cella (see page 2), and on this side, chapels were added.

Continue to page 2--additional views of interior.

Works Consulted or Quoted: Grady, Ellen. Sicily [Blue Guide]. New York: Norton, 2006.

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© 2010 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.