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Palermo (Italian: [paˈlɛrmo] ( ), Sicilian: Palermu, Latin: Panormus, from Greek: Πάνορμος, Panormos, Arabic: بَلَرْم, Balarm; Phoenician: זִיז, Ziz) is a city in Insular Italy, the capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Province of Palermo. The city is noted for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence; it is over 2,700 years old. Palermo is located in the northwest of the island of Sicily, right by the Gulf of Palermo in the Tyrrhenian Sea.
The city was founded in 734 BC by the Phoenicians as Ziz (‘flower’). Palermo then became a possession of Carthage, before becoming part of the Roman Republic, the Roman Empire and eventually part of the Byzantine Empire, for over a thousand years. The Greeks named the city Panormus meaning ‘complete port’. From 831 to 1072 it was under Arab rule during the Emirate of Sicily when it first became a capital. The Arabs corrupted the Greek name into Balarm, the root for its present-day name. Following the Norman reconquest, Palermo became capital of a new kingdom (from 1130 to 1816), the Kingdom of Sicily. Eventually it would be united with the Kingdom of Naples to form the Two Sicilies until the Italian unification of 1860.
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