Ragusa, Sicily - Encyclopedia


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RAGUSA, a town of Sicily in the province of Syracuse, 70 m. S.W. of Syracuse by rail and 32 m. direct. It consists of an upper (Ragusa Superiore) and a lower town (Ragusa Inferiore), each of which forms a separate commune. Pop. (1906) of the former, 35,529; of the latter, 866. It has some churches with fine Gothic architecture, and is commercially of some importance, a stone impregnated with bitumen being quarried and prepared for use for paving slabs by being exposed to the action of fire. On the hill occupied by the castle of Ragusa Inferiore stood the ancient Hybla Heraea, a Sicel town, under the walls of which, Hippocrates of Gela fell in 491 B.C. A Greek settlement seems to have arisen in the neighbourhood close to the present railway station, about the middle of the 6th century B.C., and to have disappeared at the end of the 5th. Orsi points out that the remains (cuttings in the rock and a part of the castle wall), attributed by Freeman (History of Sicily, i. 163) to Sicel times, are in reality postRoman.

See Orsi in Notizie degli scavi (1899), 402-418.

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