/ / Cathedral of Monreale: photo description (Duomo di Monreale)

Cathedral of Monreale: photo description (Duomo di Monreale)

Monreale Cathedral, also known as Santa Maria Nuova, one of the most impressive churches of Sicily and one of the main tourist attractions of the island. Dedicated to the Nativity of the blessed virgin Mary, it is located in the suburb of Palermo is Monreale, a town with a population of 32 thousand people.

Construction of the Cathedral standing next to the Benedictine monastery at Monte Caputo has begun in 1174 by king William II the Good. According to legend, the location for the construction of the new Church William pointed out by Mary herself, who appeared to him in a dream and declared that it was there the father of king William I of Evil, had hidden untold wealth. In addition, there loved to hunt Arab emirs and replaced them by Normans.

Already in 1176 in the monastery came the first pilgrims, and seven years later was completed the building of the Cathedral. Then, 1183 at 1189 years, its walls were covered with mosaics - the total area of 130 mosaics equal to about 10 thousand sq. m.! This is one of the largest mosaic cycles in the world. In 1183 held its first burial in the Cathedral were buried Margaret of Navarre, mother of William II, then here found eternal rest to William I, Roger of Apulia, Henry Kapanski himself Wilhelm II. Already in the late 12th century the Cathedral got the status of a Cathedral acquired its present appearance: the West facade and the apse were decorated with false arches, and the South tower topped by a spire. In 1267 the consecration of the Cathedral of the Nativity of the blessed virgin.

Significant changes in the structure of the Cathedral was held in 15-17 centuries: in the 15th century, the sacristy was attached, in the 16th century the Cathedral's floor is laid with white marble of Taormina and to the Northern wall was attached to the side porch. Then was built the chapel of St. Castrense, where his relics are now kept. A century later was built the chapel of the Crucifixion in the Baroque style. In 1770 the sculptor Ignazio Marabitti was built on the site of the collapsed 12th-century portico new, more elegant, but dissonant with the Norman style of the building.

In the 19th century, there were two disasters, partially changed the appearance of the Cathedral. In 1807, the South tower was struck by lightning, resulting in a collapsed spire, which subsequently has not been restored. And in 1811, a terrible fire occurred, which destroyed the ceiling work of Arab craftsmen and damaged mosaics and the Royal tombs. For the restoration of the interior decoration took several decades.

Today Monreale Cathedral is an important monument of Norman architecture, which is annually visited by millions of tourists. In the interior of the mixed traits of Romanesque architecture, applied Arabic and Greek ecclesiastical art. But the main attraction of the Cathedral are the mosaics mentioned above 130, written on religious subjects. Interesting fact: the names of the authors of the mosaics have not survived, they could be masters of Constantinople and local. Montreal residents affectionately call this majestic Church "La Matrice" - the Mother, emphasizing its special importance in the history of the city.