Visit Otranto: Otranto Cathedral

Author: loloieg

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Otranto Churches, Italy

Otranto Cathedral

The largest church in Apulia, it was built in 1088 and is an extraordinary combination of different styles, ranging from Roman to Renaissance, from Arabic to Gothic. A Baroque portal and Renaissance gable stand out on the main facade but the interior houses the cathedral's greatest treasure.
It's a floor mosaic created by monk Pantaleon (who signed the cathedral's entrance). A masterpiece that transcends religion, history and mythology, it has always fascinated scholars and thinkers.
The outline of the mosaic is a tree which, starting from the entrance, almost reaches the presbytery, depicting scenes from the Old Testament combined with images of dragons, devils, unicorns and, inexplicably, King Arthur and Alexander the Great.
The pattern does not follow chronological order nor does it reflect the order of the Old Testament, creating diverse interpretations. Some believe that the mosaic refers to the Kabbalah while others are convinced it's a map to the Holy Grail.
The cathedral is well-loved by the locals, especially for the chapel that holds the relics of the blessed martyrs, the 800 men who were massacred for defying the Turks in 1480.


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