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Inside the church of San Cataldo in Palermo, Sicily, a notable example of the Arabian-Norman architecture. 
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Inside the church of San Cataldo in Palermo, Sicily, a notable example of the Arabian-Norman architecture.

"Founded around 1160 by admiral Majone di Bari, in the 18th century the church was used as a post office. In the 19th century it was restored and brought back to a form more similar to the original Mediaeval edifice. It has a rectangular plan with blind arches, partially occupied by windows. The ceiling has three characteristics red, bulge domes (cubole) and Arab-style merlons. The church provides a typical example of the Arabian-Norman architecture, which is unique to Sicily. The plan of the church shows the predilection of the Normans for simple and severe forms, derived from their military formation. [...] The interior has a nave with two aisles. The naked walls are faced by spolia columns with Byzantine style arcades. The pavement is the original one and has a splendid mosaic decoration. Also original is the main altar." (Text from Wikipedia).
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San Cataldo, PalermoSan Cataldo, Palermo
Inside the Baroque church of Santissimo Salvatore on Corso Vittorio Emanuele, Palermo, Sicily. 
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Inside the Baroque church of Santissimo Salvatore on Corso Vittorio Emanuele, Palermo, Sicily.
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Inside the famous 12th-century cathedral of Monreale near Palermo, Sicily. 
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Inside the famous 12th-century cathedral of Monreale near Palermo, Sicily.

"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.

The church's plan is a mixture of Eastern Rite and Roman Catholic arrangement. The nave is like an Italian basilica, while the large triple-apsed choir is like one of the early three-apsed churches, of which so many examples still exist in Syria and other Oriental countries. It is, in fact, like two quite different churches put together endwise.

The basilican nave is wide, with narrow aisles. Monolithic columns of grey oriental granite (except one, which is of cipolin marble), on each side support eight pointed arches much stilted. The capitals of these (mainly Corinthian) are also of the classical period. There is no triforium, but a high clerestory with wide two-light windows, with simple tracery like those in the nave-aisles and throughout the church, which give sufficient light.

The other half, Eastern in two senses, is both wider and higher than the nave. It also is divided into a central space with two aisles, each of the divisions ending at the east with an apse. The roofs throughout are of open woodwork very low in pitch, constructionally plain, but richly decorated with color, now mostly restored. At the west end of the nave are two projecting towers, with a narthex (entrance) between them. [...]

It is, however, the large extent (6,500 m²) of the impressive glass mosaics covering the interior which make this church so splendid. With the exception of a high dado, made of marble slabs with bands of mosaic between them, the whole interior surface of the walls, including soffits and jambs of all the arches, is covered with minute mosaic-pictures in bright colors on a gold ground. The mosaic pictures are arranged in tiers, divided by horizontal and vertical bands. In parts of the choir there are five of these tiers of subjects or single figures one above another.

The half dome of the central apse has a colossal half-length figure of Christ, with a seated Virgin and Child below; the other apses have full-length figures of St Peter and St Paul. Inscriptions on each picture explain the subject or saint represented; these are in Latin, except some few which are in Greek. The subjects in the nave begin with scenes from the Book of Genesis, illustrating the Old Testament types of Christ and His scheme of redemption, with figures of those who prophesied and prepared for His coming. Around the lower tier and the choir are subjects from the New Testament, chiefly representing Christ's miracles and suffering, with apostles, evangelists and other saints. The design, execution and choice of subjects all appear to be of Byzantine origin, the subjects being selected from the Menologion of Basil II drawn up by the emperor Basil II in the 10th century." (Text from Wikipedia).

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The Monreale CathedralThe Monreale CathedralThe Monreale CathedralThe Monreale Cathedral
On the roof of the apse of the famous 12th century cathedral of Monreale near Palermo, Sicily. 
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On the roof of the apse of the famous 12th century cathedral of Monreale near Palermo, Sicily.
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Palermo from the Monreale CathedralPalermo from the Monreale CathedralPalermo from the Monreale CathedralThe cloisters of Monreale
A fabulous viewpoint high above the town of Baunei in east Sardinia. 
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A fabulous viewpoint high above the town of Baunei in east Sardinia.
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Thursday, Nov 2, 2017: On the walls of Palácio da Pena in Sintra, Portugal
Palácio da Pena
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