Messina Cathedral dates back to the 12th century, but it was thoroughly restored between 1919-1920 due to the earthquake that had caused serious damage in 1908. During the Second World War when the Allied dropped bombs on the city, a fire destroyed part of the cathedral which was rebuilt in 1943.
The apsidal area has its original Norman structure and the three outstandingly decorated portals of the façade built following the late Gothic style may have been built, at least the central one, at the beginning of 15th century. A sculpture of Jesus among the Evangelists stands in the architrave where it is also possible to admire human beings, animals and plants beautifully sculpted.The tympanum dates back to the second half of 15th century. There is a nave and two aisles where files of 28 columns stand. Part of the decoration is original except the mosaics in the apse which are reconstructions.
This cathedral is where the remains of remarkable men rest such as Conrad IV king of Germany and Sicily (13th century) and many archbishops. The chapel of Sacrament, built in the late 16th century, houses scenographic decorations and mosaics dating back to 14th century. In 1933 the Ungerer company of Strasbourg incorporated the largest astronomical clock in the world in the bell tower.
Every day a t 12 there is a performance by mechanically animated statues telling the core facts of civil and religious history of Messina.References:
Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.
Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.
The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.