Saturday, April 6, 2013

Church of San Giovanni al Sepolcro, Brindisi

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is a twelfth-century monument in Brindisi, Italy. It is better known as St. John at the Sepulchre, San Giovanni al Sepolcro. It was standing by 1128, and it was probably built to commemorate the capture of Jerusalem by the crusaders in 1099. Many Normans from southern Italy had gone on the crusade, and one of them no doubt brought back the relic that was the church's chief claim to fame: a fragment of Christ's tomb.

The style of the round church seems to have been influenced by Byzantine churches in the Holy Land, such as St. Anastasius in Jerusalem. The elaborate carvings around the entrance were done by several different sculptors over the course of the 12th century. The church was under the control of the Canons Regular of the Holy Sepulchre, an order founded to help administer churches in Holy Land; they eventually merged with the Knights of the Hospital.

This knight is particularly famous.

Although these days people take a lot more pictures of the centaurs and the mysterious naked people.

The frescoes date to the 14th century.

All of the columns on the interior seem to have been re-used from some Roman building.

The church has several pieces of scratched medieval graffiti, including this Norman ship.

The church is hidden away off the main streets, and I have read that if you go there on a weekday you may be the only visitor, so you can commune alone with the spirits of Norman crusaders and holy monks.

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