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The Basilica of San Cataldo is located in Piazza Bellini, near the Martorana temple. Today the church is a monument of Arab-Norman architecture, in which typical Arab and Byzantine features can be traced.
The church was founded by Mayo from Bari – First Minister of Wilhelm the First Wicked. The building was originally the home temple of the Palazzo Mayo and was located in the courtyard. In 1160, after Mayo's death, the palazzo was confiscated and later sold to Silvestro Marsico. In 1175 the palace complex was sold to King William the Second Good, who in 1182 presented the palazzo and the church to the Monreale Monastery.
Until 1787, the Archbishopric of Montreal owned the palace and the church. During this period, the church was turned into a parish church, and a cemetery arose under it. Initially, the palace was used as a hospital, and later became the seat of bishops. Significant alterations to the palace were carried out in 1625 and 1679. In 1620, the southeastern part of the palazzo was sold to the Senate, which, after a series of renovations, turned into the Palazzo Pretorio.
In 1787, the palace complex was bought by King Ferdinand III. The church was transferred to the city bishopric, and the office of the royal post office was set up in the palazzo. In the 19th century, the post office was moved to another building.
At the end of the 19th century, large-scale reconstruction works were carried out in the church, led by Giuseppe Patricolo. In the course of the work, late decorations and rebuildings were removed, the church returned to its original appearance. In 1937 the basilica was handed over to the Knights of the Order of Malta.
Three false arches adorn the western and northern facades of the church. The eastern facade is adorned with three arches flanking the apse. The southern facade of the building is devoid of any decorations. The roof parapet is decorated with Arabic carvings with a geometric motif. The church is crowned with three hemispherical red domes typical of Arab mosques.
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Topic: Church of San Cataldo in Italy, Sicily resort.