Palermo Cathedral
The Context 2

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

When the Normans arrived, the Gami Mosque in Palermo, which was immediately converted into a Christian church, was entrusted to the care of the bishop Nicodemus , who had taken refuge with the Byzantine clergy in the small church of Aghia Kiriaki , in the Monreale area during the period of Muslim domination.
For a considerable period of time, Palermo Cathedral, which was the largest of the Norman cathedrals in Sicily, retained the structure of the great Gami Mosque, even though it was adapted and re-consecrated for Christian worship. The church underwent extensive renovation and adaptation to meet liturgical requirements. On 15 May 1129, Roger II had a chapel built ‘in cornu evangeli’ dedicated to the Mother of God, the ‘Deipara coronata’.
In this particular Cathedral chapel, Roger II , son of the great Count and first King of Sicily, was crowned on Christmas Eve in 1130: Rex Siciliae, ducatus Apuliae et principatus Capuae, thus becoming Palermo: Prima Sedes, Corona Regis et Regni Caput .
The following year, Roger II’s wife Albiria had the Magdalene Chapel built against the southern wall of the church, ‘ in cornu epistolae ‘, opposite the place where Roger’s coronation took place. The chapel was built as a family mausoleum, to provide a proper burial place for the Norman Dukes and Princes.

The lost chapel

The towers and the western facade

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

The chapel of St. Benedict

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

A compositional design that combines nordic examples with new artistic languages, over the centuries

The links between the hauteville family and the monastic orders in Sicily

The king’s mark

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

The decorated facade

A Northern population

A controversial interpretation

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

Tempus fugit: a strategic project implemented in a short period of time

Interior decorations

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

The longest aisle

The Chapel of the Kings

The Cefalù cathedral: a construction yard undergoing a change between a surge of faith and control over the territory

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

The rediscovered chapel

The area of the Sanctuary

The senses tell Context 1

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

Squaring the circle

The Great Restoration

Worship services

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

The cemetery of kings

The plasticism of the main portico and Bonanno Pisano’s Monumental Bronze Door

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

The Virgin Hodegetria

The chapel of the crucifix: an artistic casket based on a previous model

The columns of the nave: the meticulous study of the overall order

The beginning of the construction site

Palermo: the happiest city

Beyond the harmony of proportions

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

The marble portal: an intimate dialogue between complex ornamental aspects and formal structure

The stone bible

A tree full of life

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

The mosaics of the presbytery

Survey of the royal tombs

The paradisiacal “Conca d’oro” that embraces Palermo: a name with countless faces through time

The side Portico: a combination of elegance and lightness of form

The side aisles

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

Biblical themes enlivened by the dazzling light of the stained – glass windows overlooking the naves

A remarkable ceiling

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

The cultural substrate through time

Transformations over the centuries

The Kings’ Cathedrals

Ecclesia munita

The original design

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

The Gualtiero Cathedral

The mosaics of the apses

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

The Bible carved in stone

The southern portico

Mosaic decoration

A palimpsest of history

Roger II’s strategic design

The Cathedral over the centuries

The balance between architecture and light

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

A space between the visible and the invisible

Under the crosses of the Bema

Thirteenth-century iconography decorates the nave’s wooden ceiling, designed with new solutions

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

From the main gate to the aisles: an invitation to a journey of faith

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

The architectural modifications ti the cathedral building after the death of Roger II and the transformations of the cloister

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

A new Cathedral

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily