alermo is the metropolis of these islands, combining the benefits of wealth and spendor, and having all that you could wish of beauty  .  .  . One of the most remarkable works of the infidels that we saw was the church known as the Church of the Antiochian (La Martorana or Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio)  .  .  . is beyond dispute the most wonderful building in the world.  The inner walls are all embellished with gold  .  .  . We learnt that its founder after whom it was named, spent hundred-weights of gold on it  .  .  . This church has a tower supported by columns of colored marble .  .  . and is one of the most wonderful constructions to be seen.

Ibn Jubayr, The Travels of Ibn Jubayr, trans. R.J.C. Broadhurst (London: 1952) 349