Rating: 8,1/10 (3045 votes)
Cathedral of Palermo (Cattedrale di Palermo) description and photos - Italy: Palermo (Sicily). Detailed information about the attraction. Description, photographs and a map showing the nearest significant objects. The title in English is Cattedrale di Palermo.
Photo and description
The Cathedral of Palermo, named after the Assumption of the Most Holy Theotokos, is the main church in the capital of Sicily, which houses the relics of Saint Rosalia, the patroness of the city. In addition, it is the center of the cult of this saint, which has existed in Sicily since the 17th century. Since during its long history the cathedral was rebuilt several times, today you can see features of the Arab-Norman and Gothic styles, as well as classicism. Inside are the tombs of the Sicilian kings and Germanic emperors, thanks to whom the Sicilian kingdom once flourished in the Mediterranean.
Back in the 4th century on the site of the modern cathedral there was a church dedicated to the martyr Mamilian. Then, at the beginning of the 7th century, a cathedral was built here in honor of the Most Holy Theotokos, which two centuries later the Arabs, captured Palermo, turned into a mosque.
In 1072, the Normans, led by Robert Guiscard, overthrew Arab rule in Sicily, and the mosque again became a Christian church - the first liturgy was held according to the Greek rite. Already at the beginning of the 12th century, the cathedral became the main church of Norman Sicily - it was here that Roger II, the first ruler of the Sicilian kingdom, was crowned. He was also buried inside the cathedral. From the original building of the church, only the crypt and one of the columns of the southern portico with a quote from the Koran have survived to this day - they date back to the 7-12 centuries.
In 1179-1186 a new, more majestic one was built on the site of the old cathedral, which was supposed to compete in beauty with the cathedral of Monreale. In 1250, graceful corner towers were added to it, and ten years later - the sacristy. The eastern part of the cathedral has retained its Arab-Norman appearance - narrow lancet windows, false arches, numerous inlays, floral ornaments. In those years, the emperors Henry VI and Frederick II and their spouses were buried in the basilica - their sarcophagi can be seen in one of the side chapels.
The construction of the cathedral continued actively in the 14-16 centuries: a western portal in the Gothic style and a southern portico with three pointed arches were built, and an icon of the Virgin by Antonio Gambara appeared above the southern portal. In the 15th century, a garden was laid out next to the church, and inside the cathedral were placed a statue of the Virgin with the Child and the relics of St. Rosalia. The northern portico was built in the first half of the 16th century by the famous architects Vincenzo and Fabio Gagini. Vincenzo Gagini was also the author of the marble balustrade with statues of saints, installed on the square in front of the cathedral. Finally, in 1685, a fountain was erected on Cathedral Square, which was later crowned with a statue of St. Rosalia.
Serious reconstruction work under the leadership of Ferdinando Fuga was carried out in the cathedral in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, as a result of which it significantly changed its appearance. A classic dome, 14 new chapels, new north and south facades appeared, giving the cathedral a classic look. The carved wooden ceiling was replaced with low vaults, which also gave the church a more restrained appearance.
We also recommend reading Beer Street (Ulica Piwna) description and photos - Poland: Gdansk
Topic: Cathedral of Palermo (Cattedrale di Palermo) description and photos - Italy: Palermo (Sicily).