Church of San Cataldo

Palermo, Italy

Erected in 1154 as a notable example of the Arab-Norman architecture which flourished in Sicily under Norman rule on the island, the Church of San Cataldo is annexed to that of Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio. In the 19th century it was restored and brought back to a form more similar to the original medieval edifice.

The church has a rectangular plan with blind arches, partially occupied by windows. The ceiling has three characteristics red, bulge domes (cubole) and Arab-style merlons. The church provides a typical example of the Arab-Norman architecture, which is unique to Sicily. The plan of the church shows the predilection of the Normans for simple and severe forms, derived from their military formation. Moreover, the building shows how international the language of Norman architecture was at the time, as the vocabulary which marks parts of the church, like the bell tower, can be tracked down in coeval buildings like the cathedral of Laon and the Abbaye aux Dames in Caen, both in Northern France, or the cathedral of Durham in England. At the same time, the church shows features shared by Islamic and Byzantine architecture, such as the preference for cubic forms, the blind arches which articulate the external walls of the church and the typical spherical red domes on the roof.

The interior has a nave with two aisles. The naked walls are faced by spolia columns with Byzantine style arcades. The pavement is the original one and has a splendid mosaic decoration. Also original is the main altar.

References:

Comments

Your name



Details

Founded: 1154
Category: Religious sites in Italy

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Arthit Yodyunyong (13 months ago)
2.5€ to enter to the church. It's only one chapel inside.
Marko Cvetkovic (13 months ago)
From outside it looks nice with all the different cultures that put their style in it. But don't go in! It's a fraud. There is a lady that has a courtain closed hiding the view of interior part. You pay 3€ because you are courious what's inside. But there is nothing! Empty walls, no fresacas, no interior. When I asked the lady why they are charging it, is there something special I dont see, but she answered me: "it's a church from 12 century". OK... but there are better places to take a look inside for free in Palermo. So dont go in :)
Tony Duffy (13 months ago)
Quaint old church with unique domes on top. Very quirky.
Steve Oldfield (14 months ago)
SCAM Tiny church with nothing to see. €2.5 entry.
Kuala Bound (15 months ago)
High on the ancient city walls, stands the impressive sight given by this XII c Norman church with three unusual little bulge domes, and with merlons of Arab tradition. Originally it was the chapel of a Palace (no more existing), built by the Admiral Majone di Bari but after his killing in 1160 the church interior (paved with beautiful polychrom marble mosaic) was never finished. Three naves are separated by columns retrieved from previous buildings. For six centuries it was property of the Monreale Benedictins till when in 1787 was used as postal office ! Its present aspect is due to restoration carried out in 1885 meant to free it from transformations and bring it back to how it was. Still the question got no clear reply: which was the original colour of the "red" (more pink to grey) domes? Since 1930s the church belongs to the Order of the Holy Sepulchre.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Holy Trinity Column

The Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc is a Baroque monument built in 1716–1754 in honour of God. The main purpose was a spectacular celebration of Catholic Church and faith, partly caused by feeling of gratitude for ending a plague, which struck Moravia between 1713 and 1715. The column was also understood to be an expression of local patriotism, since all artists and master craftsmen working on this monument were Olomouc citizens, and almost all depicted saints were connected with the city of Olomouc in some way. The column is the biggest Baroque sculptural group in the Czech Republic. In 2000 it was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list.

The column is dominated by gilded copper sculptures of the Holy Trinity accompanied by the Archangel Gabriel on the top and the Assumption of the Virgin beneath it.

The base of the column, in three levels, is surrounded by 18 more stone sculptures of saints and 14 reliefs in elaborate cartouches. At the uppermost stage are saints connected with Jesus’ earth life – his mother’s parents St. Anne and St. Joachim, his foster-father St. Joseph, and St. John the Baptist, who was preparing his coming – who are accompanied by St. Lawrence and St. Jerome, saints to whom the chapel in the Olomouc town hall was dedicated. Three reliefs represent the Three theological virtues Faith, Hope, and Love.

Below them, the second stage is dedicated to Moravian saints St. Cyril and St. Methodius, who came to Great Moravia to spread Christianity in 863, St. Blaise, in whose name one of the main Olomouc churches is consecrated, and patrons of neighbouring Bohemia St. Adalbert of Prague and St. John of Nepomuk, whose following was very strong there as well.

In the lowest stage one can see the figures of an Austrian patron St. Maurice and a Bohemian patron St. Wenceslas, in whose names two important Olomouc churches were consecrated, another Austrian patron St. Florian, who was also viewed as a protector against various disasters, especially fire, St. John of Capistrano, who used to preach in Olomouc, St. Anthony of Padua, a member of the Franciscan Order, which owned an important monastery in Olomouc, and St. Aloysius Gonzaga, a patron of students. His sculpture showed that Olomouc was very proud of its university. Reliefs of all twelve apostles are placed among these sculptures.

The column also houses a small chapel inside with reliefs depicting Cain's offering from his crop, Abel's offering of firstlings of his flock, Noah's first burnt offering after the Flood, Abraham's offering of Isaac and of a lamb, and Jesus' death. The cities of Jerusalem and Olomouc can be seen in the background of the last mentioned relief.