Ponte dell'Ammiraglio

Palermo, Italy

The Admiral's Bridge (Ponte dell'Ammiraglio) is a medieval bridge of Palermo. It was built over the Oreto River during the era of the Norman Sicily by the ammiratus ammiratorum George of Antioch. In 2015, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of a series of nine civil and religious structures inscribed as Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalù and Monreale.

According to a legend, the bridge is situated in the place where the Archangel Michael appeared to the Norman Count Roger I of Sicily helping him to conquer Palermo, at that time an Islamic bastion.It was completed in 1131, a year after the incoronation of Roger II as first King of Sicily. The construction was supervised by the admiral George of Antioch, the most powerful man of the Kingdom after Roger II. The bridge had the function to connect the capital to the royal gardens located across the Oreto River, like the Favara Park. Even now, the structure represents a symbol connecting the historic centre to the peripheral quarter of Brancaccio.

Since then, the bridge has been repeatedly damaged by the Oreto's overflowes. For this reason, as long ago as 1775, an attempt was made to divert the river. However, it was not until 1938 that the Oreto was definitely diverted and canalized. Seven years before, in February 1931, Palermo had been plagued by a terrible flood.

Thanks to its strategic position, on 27 May 1860, the bridge was the place of a famous battle between the Red Shirts of Giuseppe Garibaldi and the army of the House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies during the Expedition of the Thousand.

 

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Hagios Demetrios

The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.

The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.

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