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Bari is a seaport and archiepiscopal see of Apulia, Italy, capital of the province of Apulia or Puglia, situated on a small peninsula projecting into the Adriatic Sea. It had about 500.000 inhabitants in 2002.

The town consists of two parts, the closely built old town on the peninsula to the north, and the new town to the south, which is laid out on a rectangular plan. The former contains the cathedral of San Sabino a Bari[?], begun in 1035 but not completed till 1171: the exterior preserves in the main the fine original architecture (notably the dome and campanile[?]), but the interior has been modernized. Not far off is the church of San Nicola, founded in 1087 to receive the relics of this saint, which were brought from Myra in Lycia, and now lie beneath the altar in the crypt. The church is one of the four Palatine churches of Apulia (the others being the cathedrals of Acquaviva[?] and Altamura[?], and the church of Monte Sant' Angelo sul Gargano[?]). Adjacent is the small church of San Gregorio, belonging also to the 11th century. The castle, built in 1169, and strengthened in 1233, lies on the west side of the old town.

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Ancient Bari

Barium -- the old latin name for Bari -- does not seem to have been a place of great importance in early antiquity; only bronze coins struck by it have been found. In Roman times it was the point of junction between the coast road and the Via Traiana[?]; there was also a branch road to Tarentum from Barium. Its harbour, mentioned as early as 181 BC, was probably the principal one of the district in ancient times, as at present, and was the centre of a fishery.

Early Middle Age

Bari's greatest importance dates from the time when it became, in 852, a seat of the Saracen power, and in 885, the residence of the Byzantine governor. In 1071 it was captured by Robert Guiscard. In 1095 Peter the Hermit preached the first crusade there. In 1156 it was razed to the ground, and has several times suffered destruction.

Late Middle Age

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Modern Age

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Cities in the Province of Bari

This article is partially based on a 1911 encyclopedia.

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