Si Trova: a Palermo
Lat: 38° 7' 1.137512" N - Long: 13° 20' 28.07503" E
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The Zisa palace, in arabic "the splendid", was built in 1165, during the reign of William I, outside the ancient walls of Palermo, inside the Norman royal park, the so-called Genoardo, "garden or heaven of the earth ", with splendid pavilions, lush gardens and pools of water that reached from Altofonte and reached the walls of the royal palace.
Zisa was a summer residence created for the rest and leisure of the king.
The Norman sovereigns, strongly attracted by the arab culture, wanted rich and sumptuous residences and organized court life on the model of the arab one.
Thus it was that the Zisa was built in the "arab" manner by muslim workers.
It was included in 2015 among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Significant restoration work took place in the years 1635-36: another floor was added, closing the terrace, and a large staircase was built in the right part of the building.
In 1806 the Zisa reached the Notarbartolo Princes, who made it their residence by carrying out various consolidation works.
Partitions, mezzanines, internal staircases were built, and in 1860 the vault of the second floor was covered to build the pavilion floor on the terrace.
In 1955 the palace was expropriated by the state.
After fifteen years of neglect and abandonment, in 1971 the right wing collapsed.
The project for structural reconstruction after about twenty years restored to history one of the most beautiful and evocative monuments of the Sicilian Norman civilization.
Currently the Zisa houses the Museum of Islamic Art.
In the rooms are exposed artifacts of Islamic origin from countries of the Mediterranean basin.
Among these the elegant musciarabia has particular relevance.
The building is distributed horizontally in three orders, the first, on the ground floor is completely closed to the outside, except for the three large arches of access.
The second is marked by a string course, the third has a continuous series of blind arches.
A frame with the dedicatory inscription closed the construction with a continuous line at the top; it is an inscription in kufic characters, very incomplete and devoid of the name of the king and of the date, which is still visible in the attic wall of the building.
The ground floor consists of a long internal vestibule that runs along the entire length of the main facade on which the great Sala della Fontana opens in the center, the most characteristic architectural element of the entire building.
Also part of the Norman monumental complex was a thermal building and a palatine chapel located a little further west.
Visiting hours: Tuesday to Sunday 9:00 am to 7:00 pm; Monday 9: 00-13: 45.
Tickets: full € 6.00, reduced € 3.00, residents € 1.00, For info Tel 091 6520269.
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