Dienstag, 19.03.2019 07:56 Uhr

The Sassi of Matera: Unesco heritage

Verantwortlicher Autor: Francesco Pace The Sassi of Matera, 01.07.2018, 10:48 Uhr
Nachricht/Bericht: +++ Kunst, Kultur und Musik +++ Bericht 5623x gelesen
I Sassi, general view

The Sassi of Matera [ENA] The Sassi and the Park of the Rupestrian Churches of Matera include a complex of houses, churches, monasteries and hermitages built in the natural caves of the Murgia. With an area over 1,000 hectares, it contains more than a thousand houses. The first settlements are those of the Murgia (deep karst gorge crossed by the Gravina stream) where there are the prehistoric villages of Murgia Timone and Murgecchia. The dwellings were the caves carved into the rock.

With the progress of civilization, the tuff blocks of the Murgia Materana were used for the city built "above ground". The "two cities", the excavated and the built one, started a long cohabitation that still lasts. Starting from the 8th century, the hermit monks and Benedictine and Byzantine Greek monastic communities began to arrive. The latter, in particular, brought from the places of origin (Cappadocia, Anatolia, Armenia, etc.) a culture of living in the cave that merged with a population already experienced in the excavation of the tuff.

These communities settle in the caves of the Gravina transforming them into rock churches (there are about 150), embellished with frescoes of Byzantine style. Matera thus becomes a meeting point between East and West of the so-called rock civilization, between Byzantine art of the anchorites and the art of local shepherds. Chapel, churches, rocky basilicas, convents dug into the rock arise. The inhabitants of the Sassi have continued to build "above ground", using the caves as deposits, cellars and stables. The city had relations with the Magna Graecia and in Roman times it became a center of passage and supply of wheat. It was disputed by the Lombards, by the Byzantines and by the Saracens, followed by the Normans and the Aragonese.

I Sassi, general view

The urban structure is formed by tangled "cave-houses" forming the two main districts of the historical center: Sasso Caveoso and Sasso Barisano divided by the Civita, the oldest part. The typical dwelling inside the Sassi is excavated on three levels and includes: the stable, the cellar and the cistern. In most cases the rooms were mixed, for example bedrooms that housed both people and animals. The places where this promiscuity occurred were unhealthy, humid, conducive to the spread of disease. The Sassi represent an absolute masterpiece of man's ingenuity and ability to adapt to natural and historical difficulties.

The ownership of the Sassi and the Park of the Rupestrian Churches is bound by the national regulation for the protection and conservation of cultural heritage (Legislative Decree 42/2004, code of cultural heritage and landscape). This national regulation requires the prior approval of the competent Superintendencies of the Local Offices of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities, for any intervention or activity that has an impact on property.

Most of the historical area is owned by the State and leased to the Municipality of Matera pursuant to Law 771/1986. The law delegates to the Municipality the direct responsibility for managing the historical area. The law 771/1986. The Council of Ministers of Europe since 1985 assigns the title of European Capital of Culture to those cities that can associate in their program also the regional territory of reference. From the final report the motivations that led the selection jury to choose Matera as European Capital of Culture for 2019.

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