Matera Cathedral is dedicated to the Virgin Mary under the designation of the Madonna della Bruna and to Saint Eustace. Formerly the seat of the Bishops, later Archbishops, of Matera, it is now the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Matera-Irsina.
The cathedral was built in Apulian Romanesque style in the 13th century on the ridge that forms the highest point of the city of Matera and divides the two Sassi, on the site of the ancient Church of Saint Eustace, protector of the city. Construction began in 1203, the year in which Pope Innocent III raised Matera to the rank of an archdiocese in union with Acerenza as the Archdiocese of Acerenza and Matera, and was completed in 1270.
The original dedication was to Santa Maria di Matera, as recorded in a contemporary notarial document. Then, on the evidence of a will of 1318, it was entitled Santa Maria dell'Episcopio, and from 1389, the year in which Pope Urban VI (already Archbishop of Matera), instituted the feast of the Visitation, it was dedicated to Santa Maria della Bruna, also a protector of the city. Finally, from 1627 Monsignor Fabrizio Antinori, archbishop of Matera, dedicated the cathedral to the Madonna della Bruna and to Saint Eustace.
The west front is dominated by the rose window of sixteen rays and by the campanile on the left side, 52 metres high. The cathedral has a Latin cross ground plan and contains three naves, separated by round arches supported by columns with stone capitals. Much of the interior received a Baroque-style decoration in the 17th and 18th century, including gilded stuccoes and frames.
The interior houses a Byzantine-style fresco depicting the Madonna della Bruna and Child, dating from 1270 and attributed to one Rinaldo da Taranto. The carved wooden choir stalls (60 in total) are located in the apse (1453), by Giovanni Tantino of Ariano Irpino. The high altar has an altarpiece by Fabrizio Santafede depicting The Virgin with Saints.References:
La Hougue Bie is a Neolithic ritual site which was in use around 3500 BC. Hougue is a Jèrriais/Norman language word meaning a \'mound\' and comes from the Old Norse word haugr. The site consists of 18.6m long passage chamber covered by a 12.2m high mound. The site was first excavated in 1925 by the Société Jersiaise. Fragments of twenty vase supports were found along with the scattered remains of at least eight individuals. Gravegoods, mostly pottery, were also present. At some time in the past, the site had evidently been entered and ransacked.
In Western Europe, it is one of the largest and best preserved passage graves and the most impressive and best preserved monument of Armorican Passage Grave group. Although they are termed \'passage graves\', they were ceremonial sites, whose function was more similar to churches or cathedrals, where burials were incidental.