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Cattedrale di Monreale

William II was being undercut by the Pope, who was placing his own man, an Archbishop in Palermo.  The King was sitting on a lot of money, there was more tax collected in Palermo than in all of England at the time.  So the King decided what better to employee a lot of people building a church in Monreale, the city high overlooking Palermo. Hundreds of craftsmen were recruited, including the mosaic artist from Constantinople, to build the magnificent church. The church was built in fifteen years.  

The church was build in a region known to take hundreds of years to build a church, fifteen years. Willian knew he didn’t have a lot of time  Hundreds of Arab craftsmen from Constantinople were recruited.  Some of the mosaics depict bible story scenes, in rich golden colors on the walls of the church; Adam and Eve, Jesus throwing the money changers out of the temple.  From the heights of Monreale you can see the “golden conch” as Palermo is known.

Don’t try to tell me they didn’t have narcissistic rulers then.  There is a mosaic in the Cathedral in gold that depicts Jesus crowning the King, William II.  Why not go to the highest power and get crowned? Why not?

With the new Church in Monreale there was a new Archbishop.  Now Palermo had two Archbishops, one in Palermo and one in Monreale.  And true to this day there are two Archbishops.  In the Church in Monreale there is a depiction of Becket who was killed by the King of England over a religious dispute, Becket a martyr.  

The king in Palermo handled the dispute with the Church in a different way than the King of England.  With his resources he challenged the Pope.  The church in Monreale was built.  The Church is magnificent and one of the primary visits when in Palermo.

Check out the Monreale Slideshow here: