Qanat di Palermo

Useful Information

Location: 7 Piazza Tommaso Edison Palermo, 90144
(38.1418, 13.3441)
Open: All year Mon-Fri 19, after appointment for groups.
Fee: Adults EUR 10, Children EUR 8.
Classification: SubterraneaQanat
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Pietro Todaro (2015): From the Middle Ages to 19th century: a journey into the water systems of Palermo (Italy). International Journal of Global Environmental Issues. Vol.14. researchgate
Address: QANAT Accesso Antico Pozzo idrico Punico con galleria drenante, Piazza Tommaso Edison, 90144 Palermo PA
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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The Qanat di Palermo (Qanat of Palermo)

During the Middle Ages Palermo was the capital of the Muslim Emirate of Sicily. Similar to Spain, the Arabs erected elegant palaces and castles, and impressive works of engineering which maden them more comfortable. The most famous invention of the Middle East is the Qanat, a system of tunnels and cisterns which provides drinking water and at the same time cool air for the moque and or the palace. In the Middle East it was necessary to collect aquifers to have an all year source of drinking water. In Palermo the qanat was built to bring groundwater to all parts of the city as drinking water. The tunnel existes all over the city, from the al Kasr (Norman Palace) in the south to the harbour in the north, and everywhere inside the Medieval city walls.

Three of the original qanat tunnels of Palermo can be visited today, joining one of the guided tours, which are offered throughout the year. You'll walk for 1 hour and a half inside a water tunnel to discover what Sicilians call "the cathedral under the city". The reason for this nickname are the big chambers where the water is collected, which are a combination of cistern and hub.