Saturday, November 15, 2014

Monreale - Monumental Norman Cathedral

Monreale, a town 15 km south of Palermo, is the site of a great Norman Cathedral. It is endowed with rich ornamentation and six acres of amazing 12th century mosaics. You wonder what wealth the Norman kings were able to accumulate to undertake construction of such an ambitious project? We could barely undertake a project like this today.
The view north towards Palermo covers a sweep of bay, sky, and medieval rooftops.
To reach the upper levels of the towers, you get to ascend some tiny stairways with a serious dropoff to one side. In the United States, we would never let tourists have fun like this.
According to Wikipedia,
The Cathedral of Monreale is one of the greatest extant examples of Norman architecture in the world. It was begun in 1174 by William II, and in 1182 the church, dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, was, by a bull of Pope Lucius III, elevated to the rank of a metropolitan cathedral. 
The church is a national monument of Italy and one of the most important attractions of Sicily.
As in the churches in Palermo, the stonework and mosaics are exquisite. The Moorish stone masons were absolute masters of their trade. The elegant cloister (in the two photographs above) were completed about 1200. They are well-preserved and one of the finest examples in Italy both in size and beauty of detail.

Photographs taken with a Panasonic G1 camera, with RAW files converted to black and white with PhotoNinaj software.

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