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Palermo

Palermo (classical Panormus), a city on the N.W. coast of Sicily, probably founded by Phoenicians. It became the centre of Carthaginian power, retaining for many centuries its Semitic associations. In 254 B.C. it fell into Roman hands, where it remained until Genseric captured it in 440 A.D. Belisarius recovered it a century later, but in 835 the Saracens made it their capital. The Norman Guiscards next became its masters, and Palermo enjoyed independence, if not supremacy, from 1071 to 1282. It has since shared the fate of Sicily, and was finally reduced from its position as capital of a kingdom to that of a provincial chief town in l860. Conspicuous among these monuments are the Metropolitan church, the chapel of the king's palace, the Martorana, and the mosque-like edifice dedicated to San Giovanni degli Eremiti. The harbour accommodation is not very good, being provided by a mole stretching a quarter of a mile into the sea. There is an arsenal, and some ship-building is carried on. The city is the seat of an archbishopric and university, and is the centre of administration for the island. The manufactures are limited to a few silk and cotton goods, gloves, straw hats, and chemicals. Fruit and agricultural produce are exported.

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