Ancona, Marche, Italy
Sestri Levante, Italy,
Sestri Levante, Italy,
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Ancona Cathedral is a church in Ancona, central Italy, dedicated to Judas Cyriacus. It is an example of mixed Romanesque-Byzantine and Gothic elements, and is located on the former site of the Greek city's acropolis, the Guasco hill which commands Ancona and its gulf.
Excavations carried on in 1948 proved that an Italic temple, perhaps dedicated to Aphrodite, existed on the site as early as the 3rd century BC. Above it, in the 6th century CE a Palaeo-Christian church was built. This had a nave and three aisles with the entrance facing south-east (where is the current Chapel of the Crucifix); some still existing remains of it include a mosaic pavement and perimeter walls.
In 995–1015 a new church was built, which anyway kept the original walls. In 1017 the renovated basilica received the relics of St. Marcellinus of Ancona and St. Cyiriacus. Further enlargement works occurred between the end of the 12th and the early 13th centuries, with the addition of a transversal body, to obtain a Greek cross plan, and a entrance towards south-west, resulting in the church now facing the port and the new road entering the city. The transepts were at a higher level than the previous nave, and had apses. The church, previously named after St. Lawrence, was re-dedicated to St. Cyriacus martyr, the patron saint and alleged bishop of Ancona.
A First restoration was held in 1883. During World War I, on 24 May 1915, the basilica was damaged by a bombardment of the Austrian-Hungarian fleet. The damage was restored in 1920, but in World War II Anglo-American aerial bombings destroyed the right transept and the Crypt of Drops under it, along with the art treasures housed there. Once the transept was rebuilt, the church was officially reopened in 1951. Further damage was caused by an earthquake in 1972, followed by a new restoration and another official opening in 1977.
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