Curious Gate

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Palermo’s Porta Nuova (or New Gate), is adjacent to the Palazzo dei Normanni and at the south end of the city’s principal north-south boulevard, Corso Vittorio Emanuele. When entering Palermo from the south (i.e., by land versus by sea), it welcomes you with its four atlases depicting Moors–two with their arms amputated and two with their arms crossed, as if prisoners. A triumphal archway, the Porta Nuova was build in 1538 to commemorate the 1535 victory of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V at the Battle of Tunis over the Moors, after which he visited Palermo, hence the odd choice of design. After an explosion in 1667 that destroyed the original structure, the gate was reconstructed, this time with a pyramid roof decorated with majolica tiles depicting an eagle, the symbol of Palermo.

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