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Si Viaggia / Faith and modernity: 5 things to see in the capital of Eritrea

Posted by: Semere Asmelash

Date: Friday, 10 November 2017





Faith and modernity: 5 things to see in the capital of Eritrea



Visit the 5 most beautiful religious sites in the capital of Eritrea. The cathedrals, the mosque and the synagogue: the impression of Italian architects in Asmara


The cathedrals, the mosque and the synagogue. He feels different but a unique style of modernist rationalism in the Italian colonial period that changed forever the face ofAsmara , capital of Eritrea.
The cathedral of Asmara consecrated to the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary in the capital of Eritrea was built between 1921 and 1923 by the first apostolic vicar of Eritrea, with the assistance of Italian colonial authorities, Romanesque Romanesque style. Today it is a parish church that is home to the Catholic Eritrean Catholic church, one of the oriental Catholic churches in communion with the church of Rome.

The building was built in the place of an old church dedicated to Saint Mark, on a design by the Milanese architect Oreste Scanavini, with the typical use of exposed bricks. It was dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary. It is a three-nave a transept and three apses measuring 40 meters in length, 25 in width and 25 in the lantern crowned by a statue of the archangel Gabriel. The initiator of the building was Monsignor Camillo Francesco Carrara, bishop of Agatopoli and the first Apostolic Vicar of Eritrea.

A large tombstone inside the building reminds the benefactors of the building, among them the then Prime Minister Benito Mussolini and other important personalities of the time. The altarpiece with the Assumption of Mary by the Roman painter Carlo Maratta was donated by King of Italy Vittorio Emanuele III of Savoy. Later, the building of the bell tower (over 52 meters) was completed in 1925 after the death of Carrara. The bells are eight and they were made by the Austro-Hungarian guns captured in the First World War.The largest weighs 38 quintals. An electronic clock has been installed. The religious complex also houses an elementary school, a monastery and a convent, present since the initial building of the building.

The Orthodox Cathedral of Santa Maria ( Enda Mariam ) is the orthodox cathedral of the capital of Eritrea and is located in via Arbate Asmara. The cult building was built during the Italian colonial period and is one of the great religious buildings of the city. Originally it was a very simple (7 m long) monkey-shaped masonry church that culminated with an orthodox cross. In the Royal Commission sent by the Italian government in 1892, Ferdinando Martini writes that the church resembled a barn.

The increase in the population required the construction of a new, more imposing church, and the project was entrusted to the Italian architect Ernesto Gallo in 1920. On September 27, 1938, the first stone of the modernist rationalist style building was erected, featuring two imposing side towers.The church has rectangular plants and a red brick facade with alternating horizontal stones and strips that recall the wood and stone typical of the Aksumite architecture and is decorated by 7 large colored mosaics with figures of saints overlaid by Orthodox crosses.

Kidane Mehret on the Via Adi What is the church that holds the head of the capital's parade? The term Kidane Mehret in Eritrean geez means "Pact of Mercy" and refers to the Ethiopian tradition of one who narrates a promise of Jesus to his mother with the guarantee of forgiveness of sins to anyone who has invoked the intercession of the Virgin . If the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary was the reference church for European Catholics, Kidane Mehert was instead for local Catholics and today is the true true cathedral of the capital of Eritrea.

Not only did she ask. For Asmara it is also the magnificentmosque of the caliphs , the largest in the city. Located on Avenue Harnet is one of the most important religious buildings of the capital, designed by the Italian architect Guido Ferrazza and built in 1938 by the will of Benito Mussolini who wanted to impress the local population that had 38% of residents.

The Eritrea capital's mosque designed by Guido Ferrazza incorporates and blends in with typical elements of Islamic architecture with the styles of Italian rationalism of neoclassicism, inspired by the previous colonial edifices of Tripoli. The minaret, located at the back of the building, sits on a tall base that resembles a Roman column, visible to the whole city: it has two balconies, in Italian or late Baroque rococo style. At the foot of the minaret, the mosque has an exterior porch made of neoclassical loggia divided into three parts and rounded columns. The columns are in Decameré travertine, while the capitals are in Carrara marble, the large central dome is a cement and glass.Decorated with Islamic elements, it overlooks the interior of the large mosque, featuring simple windows on 42 decorated columns.

The synagogue, which was built in 1906 for the Jewish community of the capital of Eritrea, is also a jewel . The facade is neoclassical and is covered with white ceramic mosaics characterized by a central rosette with the star of David next to two niches with the representative menorah and the torah. The building is surrounded by walls enclosed by a wrought iron gate with Jewish decoration.

*Software translation*

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