At an impressive 80m, Saint Peter's spire is the tallest church tower in the south of Limburg and it's also called the Grote Kerk, or Big Church, by locals. This Gothic cruciform house of worship was built in 1292 and boasts a prominent peak and layered walls made of brick and marlstone. Despite some adversity in its past, including a fire set by French troops in 1677 and a lightning strike in 1857, the church is still the pride and joy of the city. Other striking elements are its 1425 choir stalls decorated with fantastic creatures and more contemporary designs including the space dog Laika and a girl with a hoop. The statue of Saint Peter, situated 8m above the ground and the 50 church bells are also impressive.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.