Palermo is Sicily's undisputed metropolis. In the dye in the northwest of the island, in where over 1 million inhabitants live, the economical and political threads of the island gather. Palermo still also is the hometown of the Cosa Nostra, the largest and most successful criminal organization operating world-wide (what the tourists however realizes nothing). However above all Palermo is the city, in which history until today is alive, the Sicilians left not only its traces, but also indeterminable certifications. Palermo is the large vault Sicilians.
People from Syria and Lebanon, the most efficient sailor people of that time, the time the Greeks were mentioned Phoenician, created Palermo 800 years before Christ. They fastened the semicircular of the Conca D' Oro, the golden shell flanked by steeply dropping Rock Mountains, and developed into an important trading base in the Mediterranean region, which supplemented positions in North Africa and on Sardinians ideally. Over 1000 years the Phoenician maintained ground in west Sicily, and it is not come by any means accidentally, if cities such as Mazara del Vallo, Marsala, Trapani and evenly also Palermo have something oriental actually.
It in all other respects it did not remain for these 1000 years. The Romans, who gave the city its today valid name (Panormus), created in the year 254 after Christ, what the Greek had not succeeded: they threw the Phoenicians, who were called "Karthager", completely of the island. But well 500 years later they came back, this time - and with all achievements of a high-civilized culture Arab people, than Mohammedans. Palermo became for two centuries capital of a Caliphate and from then on also capital Sicily's. The red domes of the churches San Giovanni degli Eremiti nearby the Norman palaces and of San Cataldo to the Piazza Bellini remind most obviously of the fact that in Palermo once over 100 mosques and Minarette shaped the townscape.
After the Arabs followed the Normans, Staufer, Aragonites, Habsburger and finally the Bourbonnais, which ensured that it occurs again and again in large parts of the old part of town like in an old, Spanish city torn apart. The purge of the historical centre was stopped in the past years and partly turned. Among mayors Leoluca Orlando, an engaged Mafia opponent, who stood from 1985 to 2000 at the top of the city administration, made Palermo became an uprising city: The Palermitians recoverd and keep on recovering their city. With large success: The historical centre reanimates itself again. Where it was once avoided to get there 10 years ago, because of the dark lanes is reorganized and cleared up, today decorations lure restaurants and funny taverns, and churches and palaces, which were closed for decades, are now proudly presented.
Palermo is blessed with sights. However in the Sicilian national gallery, accommodated in the magnificent Palazzo Abatellis, you could stay for a week, in order to study the development of the forming art on Sicily. The Norman palace, the Martorana and the Zisa show up with Byzantine-eastern splendour, in the architectural style combined with north French Romanesque. Also the international puppet museum in via Butera no. 1 should belong to the obligation program of an attendance in Palermo. There are palaces and catacombs, the labyrinth of the old part of town and splendorous boulevards as via della Libertá, pictorial markets, haute couture on the so-called Kollonaden and English gardens. Finally we also refer to the magnificent Botanic garden of Palermo, in which Johann Wolfgang von Goethe seeked aleave „the Urblatt ".
A visit at the racecourse in the summer months at the bottom of the Monte Pellegrino is a day and night enterprise, the jazz scene of the city is alive. In the Teatro Massimo, one of Europe largest opera houses, which after 24-years of renovation time was again-opened 1997, world stars are expected every year, and with the Teatro di Verdura Palermo has one of the most beautiful free air stages in the Mediterranean region.
Palermo's quarter Mondello is one of the most beautiful seaside resorts of the Mediterranean, flanked with a small Copacabana, passing by "art nouveau" mansions and by powerfully rising mountains. Highly-interesting the concerning town construction plant goes back on the initiative of a italic Belgian society, which could convince wealthy investors briefly of Palermo's shining future after 1900.
With the First and then also the Second World War the monument's testament was made. Fortunately, it could be seen as follows. The 300 small mansions went less to wealthy foreigners, than rather to favourable prices to financially strong Sicilians. None of the three planned golf courses was realized. Thus and to some extent they remained by themselves.
The 1903 opened „Stabilmento ", appearing as over the water freely floating working public swimming pool with restaurant and Cafés are a piece of splendour of late art nouveau, and Unique in addition. Anywhere else in the world, where such splendour white shining buildings were set 100 years before, they are from wood. The Stabilmente of Mondello, in which the noble „Charleston "receives in the meantime guests all year round, is made- completely out over 100 years old reinforced concrete. The Italic Belgian society of 1900 still exists. A few years ago they reinvolved their ability and renewed the utilization concession for the largest part of the Copacabana of Mondello for another 20 years.