Bastia is situated towards the northern end of the island’s eastern shore at the foot of Cap Corse. The Genoese built a massive fort on the headland overlooking the old harbour. A century later as the town was flourishing, they built enormous battlements and a moat around the new settlement, creating a vast citadel that remains there to this day. In the 19th century a new port was built to the north of the old one and further settlements grew around it.
What to see in Bastia.
The New Harbour – There are fountains and illuminations in the evenings.
Place St Nicolas – this contains a statue of Napoleon and a war memorial.
Quai des Martyrs de la Liberation – This leads out onto the breakwater in front of the old harbour. The brightly painted fishing boats and white sails of the yachts combine to create a colourful scene on the still waters of the harbour. Behind the harbour are the tall buildings of the old town.
Citadel – Across the harbour is the massive edifice of the citadel.
Governor’s Palace – Its upper floors are now used as barracks but the museum on the ground floor is very interesting and well worth a visit.
St Mary’s church – This church was founded in 1495 and for a short time served as cathedral. Its most interesting feature iinside is a 15th century painting of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. There is also a silver statue of the Virgin Mary which is carried through the streets on the festival of the Assumption on 15th August.
Chapelle Ste-Croix – With it’s 18th century gold stucco decorations. The building dates back to 1547 and was built to house a black crucifix known as Christ of Miracles. It is supposed to have been found one night by fishermen who in 1428 found it floating on the sea surrounded by four lights. It is carried at the head of a procession on 3rd May and local fishermen give offering before it from their first catch of the year.
Cathedral of St John the Baptist – The cathedral was founded in 1640. In the 18th century the Baroque facade was added. The central altar is made of multi-coloured Corsican marble.
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