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Cathedral Church of Monreale - Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalú and Monreale

Monreale, Italy

The Kathedrale von Monreale, also known as the Monreale Cathedral, is a magnificent example of Norman architecture located in the small town of Monreale, Italy. It is situated just 8 kilometers outside of the bustling city of Palermo, making it easily accessible for visitors.

Built in the 12th century by King William II of Sicily, the cathedral is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and is a testament to the wealth and power of the Norman rulers. It is a fusion of various architectural styles, with influences from Byzantine, Arab, and Romanesque design.

The exterior of the cathedral is adorned with intricate stone carvings and colorful mosaics, showcasing biblical scenes and figures. The interior is just as impressive, with a grand nave and beautiful frescoes covering the walls and ceiling. The highlight of the cathedral is the stunning 18th-century organ, which is still used for concerts and services today.

Visitors can also explore the adjacent cloisters, which feature 228 intricate columns adorned with unique carvings and mosaics. These cloisters are considered one of the finest examples of Arab-Norman art and architecture in the world.

The Kathedrale von Monreale is not only a magnificent architectural masterpiece, but it also holds great historical and cultural significance. It is a symbol of the rich and diverse history of Sicily, and a must-visit for anyone interested in art, architecture, and history.

Whether you are a history buff, an art enthusiast, or simply looking to admire the beauty of this stunning cathedral, a visit to the Kathedrale von Monreale is sure to leave a lasting impression. So, make sure to add it to your itinerary when planning your trip to Italy.

Located on the northern coast of Sicily, Arab-Norman Palermo includes a series of nine civil and religious structures dating from the era of the Norman kingdom of Sicily (1130-1194): two palaces, three churches, a cathedral, a bridge, as well as the cathedrals of Cefalú and Monreale. Collectively, they are an example of a social-cultural syncretism between Western, Islamic and Byzantine cultures on the island which gave rise to new concepts of space, structure and decoration. They also bear testimony to the fruitful coexistence of people of different origins and religions (Muslim, Byzantine, Latin, Jewish, Lombard and French).

Monreale Cathedral (Italian: Cattedrale di Santa Maria Nuova di Monreale; Duomo di Monreale) is a Catholic church in Monreale, Metropolitan City of Palermo, Sicily, southern Italy. One of the greatest existent examples of Norman architecture, it was begun in 1174 by William II of Sicily. In 1182 the church, dedicated to the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, was, by a bull of Pope Lucius III, elevated to the rank of a metropolitan cathedral as the seat of the diocese of Monreale, which was elevated to the Archdiocese of Monreale in 1183. Since 2015 it has been part of the Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalù and Monreale UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The church is a national monument of Italy and one of the most important attractions of Sicily. Its size is 102 meters (335') long and 40 meters (131') wide.

Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalù and Monreale is a series of nine religious and civic structures located on the northern coast of Sicily dating from the era of the Norman Kingdom of Sicily (1130-1194): two palaces, three churches, a cathedral, and a bridge in Palermo, as well as the cathedrals of Cefalù and Monreale. They have been designated together as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This dedication took place in 2015.

The new Norman rulers built various structures in what has become known as the Arab-Norman style. They incorporated the best practices of Arab and Byzantine architecture into their own art. Although a different builder constructed each of the sites, they are linked together because of their shared architecture and time period. These sites work to create a shared identity among the areas that they are built in. This is because many people chose to visit the sites together, not just one at a time. Providing not only a steady revenue of tourism, but also a revenue of tourists that have visited each of the sites and bring that experience with them.

Currently all of the buildings are under continuous restoration and care. This care varies from site to site but most often consists of topical restoration (cleaning, maintaining murals, etc), research (what the building might have looked like originally and what was done there), and structural restoration (making sure the building is safe and structurally sound).