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Off the Beaten Track: The Wonderful Churches of Palermo

If you are in search of a lesser known European city full of nice examples of art and architecture, I would recommend that you visit Palermo, the capital of the region of Sicily in the South of Italy. This city is rich with wonderful churches, squares, fountains, and other important monuments and buildings! Take a look after the jump!

Palermo, the capital of the region of Sicily, is a town of approximately 650,000 inhabitants. It was built as a city-port by the Phoenicians around 734 BC, and has always been a cultural and commercial node between Europe and Asia. Its long history has given us many remarkable artistic architectural styles that range from the ruins of the old city walls to some nice Art Nouveau villas, together with Arab-Norman style residences, churches of various styles, and neoclassical theaters. In this article I’ll focus on the main churches of this wonderful city.

Photo by sirio174

The first place that is worth a visit is the Cathedral, built in 1185 on a location previously occupied by a mosque.

The second church is the oasis of peace, St. John of the Hermits, built in the 12th century and is rich in Arab influences – see for example the orange trees in the photos above, similar to those present in the courtyard of the Mosque of Cordoba and in the Seville Cathedral.

Photo by sirio174

The third one is San Cataldo (photo above), a wonderful example of Norman architecture. In the same place you can visit the Church of the Martorana, a nice example of Byzantine style.

The three photos above show the dome of Santa Caterina church and the wonderful fountain in Pretoria Square. This is the most beautiful fountain in Palermo.

Photo by sirio174

The photo above represents the interior of the Church of the Jesus, richly decorated with white marbles and stuccoes!

Of course, don’t forget to visit the wonderful Palazzo dei Normanni, one of the most beautiful Italian palaces built in Norman style, probably over an Arab fortress! Inside you can visit the wonderful Cappella Palatina, which was the royal chapel of the Norman kings of Sicily. It has many wonderful mosaics, as shown in the last two images.

All these photos were taken with my trusty Lomo LC-A camera.

written by sirio174

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Deutsch & Français.