The chapel created in 1291 by Cistercian monks assumed its present shape in 1440 when it was rebuilt as a St. Mary's brick church. The half-timber framed nave (oak beams with brick fillings) was constructed in the 16th and 17th centuries with the choir annex added in the 18th century. Later restoration works served to expose paintings from around 1470 on the walls and the triumphal arch. The oldest decorative features are the Gothic triumphal crucifix (around 1500) and the Gothic carved altar created in 1520 at Antwerp. This altar is considered one of the truly outstanding sacred works of art anywhere in Northern Germany and bears close stylistic resemblances to the Bordesholm Altar at Schleswig by Hans Brüggemann and Jan Bormann’s altar for the Güstrow parish church made in Brussels at roughly the same period. The altar was originally acquired by wealthy merchants from Stralsund for a local Church and found its way to its present location only in 1708. The pulpit was originally made for another church, too, probably again in Stralsund, and the and brass chandelier also comes from there.References: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.