Friday, February 27, 2015

Aug 2013: The Palermo Cathedral

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We turn the corner and the Palermo Cathedral opens up. Quite an imposing building, eh?

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the cupola is a bit like that of St. Peter’s. The building dates back to 1185, although there’s not much of the original building left.

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The garden is full of statuary, some of course can be identified as people from the religious establishment but others? classical / mythological people? or local worthies?

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I absolutely loved the stone work…its so delicate and sweet.

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these baroque cupola’s are really beautiful, and one of them has a pinhole in there which is used for astronomical observations, more of this later on.

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And then the ubiquitous horse drawn carriages.

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turning into the courtyard and this extraordinary float/carriage appears, its drawn out during some festivals.

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its really a beautiful courtyard…and the sun was shining warmly down.

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see? beautiful architectural elements, you can see the Moorish influences.

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this entrance, in the Gothic Catalan Style is the current entrance, the original entrance is around the side. And unfortunately there is reconstruction going on. One of the pillars actually has a Quranic verse on it, a remnant of the times that this cathedral was actually converted into a Mosque.

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the entrance is totally amazing. so delicate stonework. Some of the guttering is amazing, never seen saints or ladies in this shape. You can see the Madonna mosaic on the top of the door, dating back to the 13th Century. there are two plaques, showing the crowing of two kings..fascinating, but due to the bloody poles, I wasn't able to find the column with the quranic verse.

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Enter the cathedral and it was a bit pedestrian, I have to admit. Not very impressed.

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looking up the central aisle.

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the two sides are filled with alcoves and in the pillars in the middle, there are lovely statues on small plinths.

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the alcoves have altars and presumably various saints..quite imposing I have to admit, beautiful pietra dura work on many of the chapels.

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the baptismal font was a true work of art.

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One of the side chapels, what a beautiful altar.

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More saints on the little shelves up on the pillars. Bit too high I would have thought. St. Sebastian seems to be skewered.

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Another chapel and this is beautiful.

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the ceilings are busy…

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Another lovely altar.

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this was a lovely sculpture as well.

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A silver baroque altar.

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totally Moorish, eh? with the lights? The marble relief sculptures are lovely as well although atrociously lighted.

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the damn electricity wires are so crappily established, come on.

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there was a little alcove on the side to show some treasures. But didnt go in, not enough time.

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Remember I talked about the Baroque cupolas earlier? Here are the undersides of the cupolas.

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Another lovely lovely chapel. the statue of the saint is lovely but the others not so much…

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the line is a line of the meridian. Running precisely North South. The ends of the line indicate the summer and winter solstices while the other displays show the constellations which are primary on that date. Quite an interesting observatory, quite important to know the Vernal Equinox so that you can figure out when Easter is.

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looking back down the nave.

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this chapel was closed off by this ginormous grate. Some major worthies are buried in these coffins I guess.

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We were running short of time so decided to go outside..

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This was the original entrance. I quote, “Two lintelled ogival arcades, stepping over the street, connect the fa├žade to the bell tower in the front to the Archbishops pad on the left”.

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beautiful curves and gothic architecture indeed.

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beautiful, eh?

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The facade is absolutely brilliant. And the door. God, the door is exquisite. Cannot compare to Ghiberti’s Doors, but still..


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A little antechamber? not sure what this is.

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Some more worthies who are standing for centuries…

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Couple of lovely little dragons on this wall of the Archbishops Palace. It was an interesting Cathedral but then I have seen much better.