Saturday, 31 May 2014

Sicily: Palermo and Monreale, art in the Middle Ages

With the end of the Roman period and a brief presence of the Vandals, Sicily was reconquered by the Byzantine.
Subsequently, from the year 827, the Arabs conquered the island gradually. The last Byzantine resistance occurred in Taormina in the year 902. It was soon established an emirate of Sicily.
After the year 1000 many Norman knights had in the meantime arrived in southern Italy in search of fortune.
A group of these knights of the Norman family of Hauteville in the year 1072 occupied Palermo and began the conquest of Sicily.
During the kingdom of the Altavilla many monuments were built by Moorish craftsmen helped by Byzantine artists.
So the architecture and mosaics were made ​​with a very particular style.
The most beautiful buildings of this period are visible in Palermo, Monreale and Cefal├╣.

cloister of Monreale, picture a.p

Church of St. John the Hermit (Giovanni Eremiti), picture a.p.

the beautiful cloister of San Giovanni Eremiti (photo umberto p)
 the Norman church was built between the years 1132 and 1140 by order of King Roger II

mosaic in Monreale, illustration wikipedia

Tourists who visit Palermo are fascinated by mosaics of the Palatine Chapel in the Norman Palace, by some ancient churches, from the Zisa palace and other monuments.
A great cycle of mosaics and a nice cloister in the Cathedral of Monreale  (a small town near Palermo) deserve the trip in western Sicily. The presence of Christian monks in Monreale was directed to convert many Muslims who remained in the southeast.

Cefal├╣, old picture. Beautiful mosaics inside

And finally, should also see the beautiful cathedral of Cefalu, a town on the sea.

To learn more about the topics see pages: Palermo-Monreale in Middle Ages  and  Sicily, history notes.

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