Salemi. Arabic city.

In the night between 14 and 15 January 1968 Salemi was devastated by the earthquake that destroyed the Belice Valley. Following the seismic event saw Salemi decentralize its urbanization in the area downstream of the hill, called “new country”. In conjunction earthquake Salemi, gave also to Gibellina flat land on which it was built the city of “new Gibellina”.

The historic center is characterized by a pattern of planting Arabic, with dead ends very articulated, leading to increasingly segregated courtyards and staircases on steep precipices. The town, damaged by an earthquake in 1968, has all but disintegrated in the central area was abandoned because of the few restoration and a political choice and urban decentralization of new settlements in the area of “Cappuccino”. The structure, however, maintains the orthogonality of the monumental complex of the Jesuit College and a dense corollary of churches and aristocratic mansions.

Situated in an elevated position, overlooking the Castle, built or at least altered by Frederick II of Swabia in the thirteenth century, based on ancient greek-roman fortress then used by the Arabs and the Normans, trapezoidal with three towers, two square and a circular.

On the site where stood the ancient church dedicated to Our Lady Mother of the Angels medieval and probably insistent on a mosque and a temple of Venus in 1615 began construction of the Cathedral, designed by Mariano Palermo Emery and completed in 1761, at least for the longitudinal body, as from this date they start work to extend the old apse.
Belice earthquake of 1968 have reduced to an imposing ruin, partially recovered, with a plan of action Portuguese architect Alvaro Siza. The remains of the “Madrice” in front of the square Alicia arouse hour special attraction on the same square is the magnificent castle.

During the international conference called “Squares of Europe, squares for Europe”, the square Alicia was included among the 60 good examples of implementation, planning and urban redevelopment in the world.