Si Trova: in provincia di Palermo
Lat: 37° 59' 50.22739" N - Long: 13° 17' 1.625947" E
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Piana degli Albanesi is the most important town of the Greek-Albanian colonies of Sicily.
Until 1941 its name was Piana dei Greci, as it follows the Greek-Byzantine rite; it is also a bishopric of the Byzantine Eparchy.
It is one of the very few towns where the typical characteristics of the albanian cultural heritage are protected.
Its foundation dates back to the second half of the fifteenth century, when a large group of exiles from the central-southern regions of Albania and from the Morea (the current Peloponnese), sought refuge in Sicily, due to the impending Turkish advance- Ottoman that threatened Christianity in the territories of the Balkan peninsula.
The town was structured as an autonomous community, both about the administrative aspect and the juridical, economic, cultural and religious aspect.
The founders hindered access to foreigners; for a long time the "Latins" were not allowed to reside in the town after a certain period of days; public offices had to be occupied only by Albanian citizens.
Over the centuries, therefore, the inhabitants have managed to maintain their ethnic-linguistic and religious identity, jealously preserving their cultural roots: the ritual, language, customs, traditions and the characteristically richly embroidered female costumes.
The artistic and monumental heritage of Piana degli Albanesi is basically of baroque and byzantine character.
Between the end of the sixteenth century and the first half of the seventeenth century churches, fountains, palaces and the structure of the historic center were built.
To visit, among others, the rural Church of the Holy Madonna, the Church of St Giorgio, the Cathedral of St Demetrio Megalomartire of Thessalonica, the Church of the Madonna dell'Odigitria.
The typical local stone fountains contribute to enrich the artistic heritage of Piana degli Albanesi, and constitute an important historical testimony.
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