Religious building

Cattedrale di Palermo

Via Vittorio Emanuele, Palermo

The Metropolitan Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Assumption is the main place of Catholic worship in the city of Palermo. The first church was built in the current area, a few meters from the Phoenician-Punic original settlement (at Norman Palace); a second temple dedicated to the Virgin Mary of the Assumption is rebuilt on the ruins of the former in 604, which remain the crypt and basilica plant with square shape. In the long context of Arab rule (831-1072), the Basilica became Mosque. The return to Christianity will come with the arrival of the Normans. In 1185 it completed the reconstruction of the new Cathedral. Architecture is happy expression of multiple styles, the latest rehash dates from the late eighteenth century, designed by Ferdinando Fuga: restoration changed the original appearance of the complex, adding the distinctive dome and destroying valuable tribune by Antonello Gagini (XVI century). Even majolica domes of the naves date from the reconstruction of 1781. The main facade (western) is very articulated, with two powerful pointed arches inspired by Islamic architecture, a spectacular forest of bell towers and a central portal in Gothic style (1353) topped by a bas-relief of "Mary with Child". The prospect is bounded by the eastern corner towers enclosing the presbytery. This is a wonderful example of decoration in marquetry lava. The southern facade, with features turrets and the large porch in the Catalan Gothic style (1465), overlooking the "planum Ecclesiae", in turn enclosed by a balustrade of marble pillars on which are placed statues of Saints. At the center of the square is the statue of St. Rosalia by Vincenzo Vitaliano (1744). The porch on the shape gable, has access supported by columns from the Mosque. The interior, which has undergone profound changes between the eighteenth and nineteenth century, has a Latin cross with three naves divided by pillars with statues of Saints (part of the decoration of the tribune by Gagini). The first chapel on the right guard the imperial and real Normans tombs, around which rotates a fictional story full of interest. On the floor of the nave it was built during the modern renovations, a marble sundial with colored inlays representing the zodiac signs. The rich Sacramento's Altar, bronze, lapis lazuli and colored marble, was built and designed by Cosimo Fanzago (seventeenth century). The presbytery has a beautiful wooden choir late-century Gothic-Catalan. The St. Rosalia's Chapel, Palermo's Patron Saint, homes the Saint's relics in a silver urn, seventeenth-century work by Matteo Lo Castro, Francesco Ruvolo and Viviano Giancola.

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