The Palm for Paradise

These images, found in Palermo’s Palatine Chapel (and importantly, also at the Cathedral of Monreale) depict palm trees. Palm trees are symbolic of different things: In Christianity, palm branches are attributed to the “victory of the spirit over the flesh” (Wikipedia); hence why many martyrs are depicted holding palm branches. We also need to consider the palm’s significance in Islam as well, knowing that the Palatine Chapel and Monreale Cathedral were constructed by a multicultural team of artisans and craftsmen, which, importantly, included Arabs. In Islam, the palm tree is identified with peace and Paradise. Look for the palm trees lining the tops of the walls when you visit these magnificent Arab-Norman UNESCO sites in Sicily. 

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