Christ Pantocrator mosaic in Byzantine style from Monreale Cathedral.
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.
Monreale is a town and comune in the province of Palermo, in Sicily, Italy, on the slope of Monte Caputo, overlooking the very fertile valley called "La Conca d'oro" (the Golden Shell), famed for its orange, olive and almond trees. The town has a population of approximately 30,000, and it is located 15 km (12 mi) south of Palermo.