The Sanctuary of Tindari was built on the ruins of the Tindari Castle in 1953 and contains the famous statue of the Black Madonna. This statue of Byzantine origins is dated back to 800 AD, and was carved from a rare Turkish cedar wood. The legends tell that the ship carrying this Madonna was driven onto the Tindari bay after a violent storm.
According to popular belief, the Black Madonna has a miraculous power which protects Sicilians from many dangers including earthquakes, pestilence, and the attacks of armies.Today the Black Madonna stands behind the altar.References:
The eight towns in south-eastern Sicily, including Ragusa, were all rebuilt after 1693 on or beside towns existing at the time of the earthquake which took place in that year. They represent a considerable collective undertaking, successfully carried out at a high level of architectural and artistic achievement. Keeping within the late Baroque style of the day, they also depict distinctive innovations in town planning and urban building. Together with seven other cities in the Val di Noto, it is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In 1693 Ragusa was devastated by a huge earthquake, which killed some 5,000 inhabitants. Following this catastrophe the city was largely rebuilt, and many Baroque buildings from this time remain in the city. Most of the population moved to a new settlement in the former district of Patro, calling this new municipality 'Ragusa Superiore' (Upper Ragusa) and the ancient city 'Ragusa Inferiore' (Lower Ragusa). The two cities remained separated until 1926, when they were fused together to become a provincial capital in 1927.