The Basilica was built after the relics of St Nicholas were brought from Myra in Asia Minor to Bari in 1087. Completed in the mid-12th century, it has been a major place of pilgrimage ever since. Pilgrims come from all over, especially Eastern Europe and Russia. Priests place prayer intentions received at the basilica next to the altar in the crypt. Since 1951 the basilica has been home to a community of Dominican Friars.