The Palace (11th-12th century) stands regally, yet austerely, against a blue Sicilian sky on a pre-existing Punic, Roman, Byzantine, then Islamic site.
A unique combination of Islamic and Romanesque architecture, due to the interaction and coexistence of its various cultural components. King Roger II commissioned the building of four towers around which the castle was then erected. Two remain standing today, the Pisan Tower, connected to King Roger's Room and then the Joharia (from the Arabic al-jawhariyya, “bejewelled”) where the Room of the Winds is beautifully preserved.
King Roger's Room gets its name from Roger II d’Altavilla, the first king of Sicily, whereas, its exquisite decorations are thanks to his son William I, known as “Malo” (the Bad). These beautifully prestigious mosaics depict flora, fauna, and hunting scenes showing the Genoard Park, and mythological creatures: lush vegetation, peacocks and leopards, centaur archers and deer to mention a few, are symbols of Norman power. The mirror imaging of the animals recalls Byzantine iconography. While, the Neoclassical table sitting in the chamber is made from a piece of fossilised sequoia marble whose edges are decorated with ground amethyst from Brazil.
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