Basilica of San Nicola. Bari. Italy
Publisher: Cities Heirs of Byzantium Non Profit Association ACEB
Date: March 2017
Duration: 0 hours 16 minutes
The audioguide tells the story, describes the architecture and reports interesting facts about the basilica of St. Nicholas, widely known especially because it preserves the remains of the Saint Nicholas. Bari has been known since Roman times. It was dominated by the Byzantine and longobards, in the 9th century and by the Greeks and Arabs, then it became the capital of Longobardia and in the X century it was the residence of the Catapan, Byzantine governor.
Although the city was conquered by the Normans, in 1071 it retained its Byzantine cultural heritage and the local clergy remained Byzantine. The basilica is full of unique Byzantine bas-reliefs. In the gallery Byzantine capitals with carved animals and motifs are on display. In this museum there are also slabs and fragments of monuments from the VI-XII century made by Byzantine school masters. A commemorative plaque in the south matroneo and the presbyteral enclosure (1130-1140) decorated with floral motifs in the Byzantine style, testifies to a strong Byzantine influence in the art of the XII century. One of the most important pieces on display is a low marble relief, perhaps originally part of a pulpit. It depicts an angel with the book in the left hand and with the right hand raised, that is, in the pose of a teacher.
Underneath the transept there is a crypt. The environment is very rich, with 36 bays and 36 vaults, supported by columns with various capitals, Byzantine and late Byzantine, many of them made between 1087 and 1089.
In a corner of the crypt there is a column of porphyrus, isolated in an inferriate. It is considered miraculous and is an important place for pilgrimage. According to legend, it was miraculously brought here by Mira, and placed in the crypt by St. Nicholas in person on the eve of his consecration. You can examine the 3D model of the church and observe its interior through the MuByz App. The audioguide has been made by professionals in the field of history and art.