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Messina Cathedral and the astronomical clock

The cathedral, where Richard the Lionheart worshipped in 1190 en route to a Crusade, was erected during the twelfth century Norman dominion and its style resembles that of both the Basilica of Saint Nicholas and the cathedral at Bari. Most of the present cathedral is actually a reconstruction, the original building having been almost entirely destroyed by earthquakes; a few segments of the original walls remain.

Inside the church, several tombs of archbishops survived as well as the mosaic on the left apse. Many works of art were destroyed and reproduced, such as the statues of the Apostles along the aisles, the canopy in the main apse, the central part of the mosaics in the right apse.

The bell tower of the Cathedral of Messina contains the biggest and most complex mechanical and astronomical clock in the world. Designed by the firm Ungerer of Strasbourg it was inaugurated in 1933 and is the city’s main attraction even today.

At noon a complex system of counterweights, leverages and gears, determines the movement of the gilded bronze statues located in the façade. They are related to the civil and religious traditions of the city.

The Clock Tower can be visited inside. Along the staircase, you can admire the bronze statues and the complex and ingenious system of leverages and gears that generate the movement of the clock.

The mechanism moves every day at 12.00am and lasts 12 minutes.

Thanks for clock tower photo and text www.messinarte.it