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.

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

Interior decorations

Squaring the circle

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

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

The chapel of St. Benedict

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

Survey of the royal tombs

Roger II’s strategic design

A new Cathedral

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

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

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

The decorated facade

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

A space between the visible and the invisible

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

Ecclesia munita

The Cathedral over the centuries

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

The Kings’ Cathedrals

The area of the Sanctuary

The balance between architecture and light

The senses tell Context 1

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

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

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

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

Palermo: the happiest city

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

Transformations over the centuries

The king’s mark

A palimpsest of history

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

Mosaic decoration

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

A Northern population

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

A controversial interpretation

The rediscovered chapel

A tree full of life

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

The Bible carved in stone

Under the crosses of the Bema

Beyond the harmony of proportions

The mosaics of the apses

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

The Great Restoration

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

A remarkable ceiling

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

The original design

The lost chapel

The longest aisle

The beginning of the construction site

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

The cultural substrate through time

The Gualtiero Cathedral

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

The Virgin Hodegetria

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

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

The side aisles

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

The stone bible

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

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

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

The Chapel of the Kings

The towers and the western facade

The southern portico

The cemetery of kings

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

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

The mosaics of the presbytery

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

Worship services