The history of the city through its first place of worship
A UNESCO heritage site and part of Palermo's Arab-Norman itinerary, the new Cathedral was built around 1185 following the decision by Archbishop Gualtiero Offamilio and reflects a mixture of different architectural styles that make it unique.
It has undergone so many transformations as a result of the series of different historical phases. Originally, it was a great temple consecrated to the Virgin Mary, following the Arab conquest it became a mosque, then converted into a Christian house of worship after the Norman settlement. The most important of these transformations was in the 18th century, which gave the Baroque space a proper neoclassical proportionality where the dome acts as the essential balancing element. A major attraction for anyone visiting Palermo’s Cathedral are the royal tombs. Particularly the tomb of Emperor Frederick II and his family members, Emperors Henry VI of Hohenstaufen and Constance of Altavilla. The cathedral is now considered Palermo's most important place of worship and a destination for devotees of Santa Rosalia, the city's patron saint, after whom the chapel is named.