The church of St. George was part of the Bernardine Monastery. The first wooden church was built in 1468. It was replaced by the current brick church in the late 15th century and completed before 1503. It’s been ruined by fire three times, suffered the wrath of the Moscow army during the war of 1656-1659 and then had a bit of a rest during the 18th century before Napoleon turned it into a warehouse.
During Soviet times, the church was used to store medicine. It was returned to the Friars in 1993 in a pretty shabby condition, and restoration of its outstanding if run-down Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque interior has been slow to say the least. Ongoing restoration work has seen the addition of a new roof although the church itself remains locked for the foreseeable future.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.