Arab-Norman Palermo and the cathedrals of Monreale and Cefalu

Arab-Norman Palermo and the cathedrals of Monreale and Cefalu

Palermo PA, Italy

How to get?


He thrives on historical courses and resorts. If you think the idea of ​​a cultural melting pot is very recent the 9 Sicilian sites will make you think again soon. Distributed between the cities of Palermo, Cefalu and Monreale, originally the Arabian-style sites will be reinterpreted and reworked by the Normans during their settlement in Sicily in the twelfth century. The shape cupola, the pomp, attention to the natural component (fountains and gardens) They are imbued with the volumetric style, spatial and Byzantine decoration in a unique mix that leaves you speechless. The royal palace of Palermo right in Norman style, He joins the church of St. John of the Hermits with its three domes then meet in the Church of Martorana, in the cathedral of Cefalu and that of Monreale, where the great Norman structures adopt golden domes and trim adorning the large height spaces with beautiful mosaics religious theme. The site of Palermo Arabic and Norman cathedrals of Monreale and Cefalu includes two buildings, three cathedrals, four churches and a bridge. These are works "of sublime artistic value and extraordinary unity" of the twelfth century built during the Norman rule with the artistic collaboration of Arab workers. This interaction and coexistence "has generated an original architectural and artistic style of outstanding universal value.

UNESCO Award criteria

The World Heritage Committee in 2015 He has decided to enter the site "Palermo Arabic and Norman cathedrals of Monreale and Cefalu" in the list of World Heritage Sites based on the following criteria: (ii) this site bears witness to a particular political and cultural condition characterized by fruitful coexistence of peoples of various origins (Muslim, Byzantines, Latini, Hebrews, Lombardi and French), generating a conscious unique combination of elements derived from the architectural and artistic techniques of Byzantine traditions, Islamic and Western; (iv): the site is in an exemplary manner a stylistic synthesis, reworking in an innovative way and consistent elements belonging to different cultures, He has given rise to new concepts of space, constructive and decorative.

History, art and culture

The site of the Arabic Norman Palermo and Cefalu and Monreale Cathedral is made from Palermo Cathedral, the Royal Palace or Norman, the Palatine Chapel, from the Church of St. John of the Hermits, from the Church of San Cataldo, the Martorana church, from Zisa Castle, from the Bridge and the cathedrals of Monreale and Cefalu. A special kind of art, unknown elsewhere, as he wrote Guy de Maupassant in 1885, that captivates our visitors for centuries.


Royal Palace The palace (XI-XII sec.) houses inside the famous Hall of King Roger, first king of Sicily, rich in fine decorations, He took his son William I: prestigious mosaics depicting flora, fauna, hunting scenes, Representatives of the Genoardo Park, and mythological creatures. The symbolic representation of the animals recalls Byzantine iconography. Frederick II organized there the administrative and the cultural activities with meetings of the "Scuola Poetica Siciliana". The Palatine Chapel Defined in 1885 by Guy de Maupassant "The most beautiful church in the world, the most surprising religious jewel dreamed of by human thought "the Church houses inside exquisite Byzantine mosaics, cosmateschi floors and beautiful carved ceilings, made by the Fatimid school teachers. In the apse Christ Pantocrator dominates the Chapel: as the holder of the double divine and human nature wears the gold tunic, symbol of divinity, and the blue mantle, symbol of humanity. According to some theorists with his right hand blesses, while others intimate silence with the characteristic Byzantine gesture (thumb and annular united). Cathedral Founded around 1184, Cathedral is located there where the Muslims had built a mosque. The first column on the left of the Catalan Gothic portico carved bears an inscription taken from the Koran. The Cathedral houses the royal tombs of Roger II, the great Norman king who founded the kingdom of Sicily in 1130, Emperor Frederick II, Henry VI, Constance of Hauteville and Constance II of Aragon, whose crown is one of the most important pieces of the "Treasury of the cathedral". The chapel dedicated to Santa Rosalia, patroness of the City, hosts urn containing the relics of the "Santuzza". St. John of the Hermits Erected between 1130 and the 1148 by Roger II, This monastery was designed according to the Islamic-Byzantine canons of time: geometric parallelograms representing Earth, surmounted by cupolas representing Heaven. Of the original complex remains the Church, the cloister and a few remains of the Monastery. The exterior is very lively because of 5 domes covered with plaster reddish. A center of Benedictine life was the cloister which still survives in all its elegance: an oasis of peace in the heart of bustling Palermo. San Cataldo It was built between 1154 and the 1160 Majone from Bari, Grand Admiral and Chancellor of William I. The church has three naves. the middle, double compared to lateral breadth, It is separated from the latter by columns of perusal and is covered by hemispherical domes visible estradossate from 'outside for their red. The church belongs to the 1937 the order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem. Santa Maria of the Admiral or Martorana Defined in 1184 Ibn Jubair "the most beautiful monument in the world", St. Mary's was built in 1145 by George of Antioch, Admiral of Roger II. Among the magnificent Byzantine mosaics with a gold background that cover the entire church, stand the mosaic icon Giorgio D'Antioch, represented before the Virgin, and on the opposite side of the mosaic of Roger II, dressed like a Byzantine emperor, Head slightly bowed while being crowned by Christ directly. Depicted on the throne at the summit dome is Christ Pantocrator. Admiral Bridge Built in 1132 around it is considered one of the greatest works of medieval engineering in the Mediterranean area and the oldest stone bridge built after the Fall of the Roman Empire. The General G. Garibaldi (1860), during the expedition of the Thousand, Here he met a strong resistance on the part of his troops but managed to pass and enter the city victorious. La Zisa From the Arabic al-Aziz, "Glorious", "The wonderful" Castle was built by King William I, but it was completed in the reign of William II in 1190 circa. It was the summer residence of the kings. At the center of the ground floor is the representative room or "fountain room", the heart of the building's nerve. The whole room is adorned with decorative mosaics and marble inlays in opus sectile, large vaulted niches with muqarnas and a rare Byzantine mosaic panel with secular themes and iconography Islamic.


Cathedral of Monreale The simplicity of its facade does not prepare visitors to the splendor of its interior. Go through its gates you are immersed in one of the largest mosaics in the world averages cycles worth: more than six thousand square meters recount 130 stories from the Old and New Testaments in a fusion of Eastern and Western influences. Nell 'central apse emerge Christ Pantocrator and the Virgin and Child with Angels and Saints. The annex to the cathedral cloister represents an extraordinary example of medieval architecture and reminds the arcades courtyards of rich residences Islamic.


Cathedral of Cefalu He was wanted in 1131 by Roger King of Sicily and allocated to his mausoleum: the tomb of the ruler, however, today is located at Palermo.nL'interno cathedral has three naves by sixteen granite columns supporting pointed arches double nut. The mosaics were made by Byzantine workers. In the central apse there is the figure of Christ Pantocrator blessing while the lower band are depicted the Virgin and four Arcangeli. Annexed to the cathedral is the cloister of the twelfth century.


Local leaders in the Arab-Norman Palermo and the cathedrals of Monreale and Cefalu View all

Attractions in Arab-Norman Palermo and the cathedrals of Monreale and Cefalu View all

Guides in the Arab-Norman Palermo and the cathedrals of Monreale and Cefalu View all

Local products in the Arab-Norman Palermo and the cathedrals of Monreale and Cefalu View all

Tourist Information Points in the Arab-Norman Palermo and the cathedrals of Monreale and Cefalu View all

Where to sleep in Arab-Norman Palermo and the cathedrals of Monreale and Cefalu View all

Where to eat in the Arab-Norman Palermo and the cathedrals of Monreale and Cefalu View all

Transportation in Arab-Norman Palermo and the cathedrals of Monreale and Cefalu View all