Zisa, Palermo

Palermo, Italy

Zisa, Palermo

The Zisa is a castle located in the western area of Palemo, Italy. The edifice was designed by an Arabian craftsman and construction began around 1165 under the rule of king William I of Sicily but was not finished until 1189 was under the rule of William II, his son, due to his untimely death.

The Zisa is inspired by Moorish architecture. The name Zisa itself derives from the Arab term al-Azīz, meaning "dear" or "splendid". The same word, in Naskh script, is impressed in the entrance, according to the usual habit for the main Islamic edifices of the time. The structure had been conceived as summer residence for the Norman kings, as a part of the large hunting resort known as Genoardo (Arabic: Jannat al-arḍ, literally "Earthly Paradise") that included also the Cuba Sottana, the Cuba Soprana and the Uscibene palace. Joan of England, Queen of Sicily, widow of William II, was confined to the palace by the new king Tancred of Sicily due to her backing Princess Constance aunt of William II to ascend the throne.

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