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September 25, 2017

Sicily: Cefalu


Duomo di Cefalù from the piazza.

Acknowledging the distinctive combination of Arabic and Norman architecture, UNESCO has designated the 12th Century Arab-Norman buildings in Palermo and Cefalu as a World Heritage site. The Normans were known as brutal conquerors. Less well known was their tendency to assimilate culture elements from the people they conquered. After the Normans ended Saracen rule in northwestern Sicily, they embraced Arabic architecture and constructed numerous distinctive buildings that combine the Norman and Arabic styles. UNESCO honors this cultural fusion with its World Heritage designation.

The Normans are descended from the Norsemen a.k.a Vikings of Iceland, Norway, and Denmark. On the surface it is difficult to understand how and why the Normans found their way south to Sicily. Though now Sicily is a mere three-hour plane flight from the erstwhile Norselands, in the 11th Century it took considerable more effort to relocate this far south. Perhaps the Normans were like us; they visited to find better weather in the south. We’d rather winter in Sicily than in Oslo. Maybe many Normans felt the same way.

The mosaics inside Cefalu’s cathedral are a distinguishing feature of the places honored by UNESCO.

The beach in Sicily in December

 

Inside the cathedral’s cloister

The UNESCO World Heritage inscription

Come play: Gigi enjoys shore leave.

Gigi enjoys her big stick on the beach in Cefalu.

 

1 Comment »

  1. […] of the architecture honored by UNESCO at the nearby cathedral in Monreale. At our last stop was in Cefalú where we visited the town’s UNESCO church. Both are worth the effort to get […]

    Pingback by Sicily: Palermo’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites | Another Header — October 9, 2017 @ 9:13 am


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