The 'Ravelijn op den Zoom' (ravelin) is the last remnant of the fortifications designed by Menno van Coehoorn. The ravelin consists of a island with earthen and stone walls, surrounded by a wide moat. The ravelin is one of the few remaining parts of the extensive fortification system around the city. The fortress was so ingeniously designed that it was assumed that it could not be taken and therefore got the nickname 'La Pucelle' (Virgin). In 1747 the city nevertheless became occupied by French troops.

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Late Baroque Town of Ragusa

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.