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Monreale Cathedral (cloister) | by zug55
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Monreale Cathedral (cloister)

In one of the corners of the cloister, a square pillared projection contains the marble fountain or monks' lavatorium, probably the work of Arabic sculptors.


The Cathedral of Monreale (near Palermo, Sicily) is one of the greatest monuments of Norman Romanesque architecture. Construction began in 1174, initiated by the Norman King William II. It was elevated to the rank of metropolitan cathedral in 1182 by Pope Lucius III. Construction was not completed until 1267. The entire interior of the cathedral is decorated in Byzantine mosaics.


The stunning cloister was begun around the same time and was completed around 1200. It is substantially preserved in its original condition but is the only part of the Benedictine abbey that survived. It is a rather large cloister: each side measures 47 meters (154 ft). It features pointed arches decorated with diaper work which are supported by white marble double columns. The 216 columns are alternately plain and decorated by bands of glass tesserae (small square tiles) in various patterns, completed by Arab craftsmen. All marble capitals are carved individually; they represent biblical scenes, allegories, or simply foliage.


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Taken on June 21, 2015