Photos of Palermo, the capital city of Sicily, Italy

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Palermo, the capital city of Sicily

Palermo, the capital and chief seaport of Sicily, lies along the Tyrrhenian Sea in the northwest of the island. The city was founded by Phoenicians in 736 BCE. Muslims captured the city in 831 CE and made it an Arab emirate and a centre of trade and culture. The Normans conquered the city in 1072 and made it the capital of Sicily, the seat of King Roger's kingdom. After his death it passed to the German Hohenstaufens, the Holy Roman Empire and the French Anjou family, with all of Sicily, that eventually became part of Italy in 1860.

Fountain of Shame
 
Old palace door
 
Church of Jesus
 
Palermo old city
 
La Martorana church
 
Dome, La Martorana
 
Church of San Cataldo
 
Santa Caterina church
 
The Cathedral
 
Mosaics, Palatine Chapel
 
Palatine Chapel mosaics
 
Christ Pantocrator mosaic
 
In the Palatine Chapel
 
A narrow alley
 
Fa├žade, Cuattro Canti
 
Church of San Giuseppe
 
Vucciria market
 
A small piazza
 
On the market
 
Horse and cart
 
In Monreale Cathedral
 
Ceiling, Monreale Cathedral
 
Mosaics of saints
 
Adam and Eve mosaic
 
Interior Duomo Monreale
 
Cloister of Monreale
 
Palermo from Monreale
 
Chapel of Saint Rosalia
 
Mummified bodies
 
Mummified monks
 
Man and child
 
Monk in penance
 
Mummified family
 
Mummified bishop
 
Rosalia Lombardo
 
OzOutback
 

Today the city shows signs of decay and has a certain notoriety because of its links with the Mafia. Yet, there are still beautiful examples of a glorious past, like its churches and the Palatine Chapel, lavishly decorated with Byzantine mosaics. There are also delightful plazas, narrow streets and the lively Vucciria markets, almost like oriental bazaars. A most unusual sight is the Capuchin Catacombs with the mummified bodies of about 8,000 wealthy citizens, who died in the 17th to 19th centuries whose bodies, dressed in their best clothes, are aligned in niches along the walls.

A fantastic sight is the 12th century Norman cathedral of Monreale, approximately 8 kilometres to the south west of Palermo. Built for King William II it is considered to be the finest example of Norman architecture in Sicily, with its interior almost completely covered with gilded mosaics by Byzantine artists, representing the complete Old and New Testaments.