Basilica of San Nicola

The Basilica of San Nicola (St. Nicholas) is a church in Bari, southern Italy, that holds wide religious significance throughout Europe and the Christian world. The basilica is an important pilgrimage destination both for Italians and Orthodox Christians from Eastern Europe.

The basilica was built between 1087 and 1197, during the Italo-Norman domination of Apulia, the area previously occupied by the Byzantine catapan of which Bari was the seat. Its foundation is related to the stealing of the relics of St. Nicholas from Myra, in what is now Turkey, by some Barese sailors. According to the justifying legend, the saint, passing by the city on his way to Rome, had chosen Bari as his burial place. Pope Urban II came to the city to consecrate the crypt in 1089. Elias, abbot of the nearby monastery of St. Benedict, was named as first archbishop. The edifice was officially consecrated in 1197, in the presence of the Imperial Vicar, Bishop Conrad of Hildesheim, and of numerous bishops, prelates and noblemen.
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