Famous Churches – St. Mark’s Basilica (Basilica di San Marco),Venice, Italy


St. Mark’s Basilica (Basilica di San Marco),Venice, Italy

Blending the architectural styles of East and West, Venice’s magnificent basilica was consecrated in 832 AD as an ecclesiastical building to house the remains of St. Mark. St Mark’s Basilica (Basilica di San Marco) is one of the finest examples of Byzantine architecture in the world. Located just off the Grand Canal, the gleaming basilica overlooks the Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square) and adjoins the Doge’s Palace. In 828, Venetian merchants stole the relics of Saint Mark the Evangelist from their original resting place in Alexandria, Egypt. It is said the Venetians hid the relics in a barrel under layers of pork to get them past Muslim guards. The relics were initially housed in a temporary chapel within the Doge’s Palace, but a more substantial church was built to shelter the valuable relics in 829-32. This burned in a rebellion against Doge Pietro Candiano IV in 976, but was restored by Doge Domenico Contarini (d. 1070). The present St Mark’s Basilica, which incorporates the earlier buildings, was completed around 1071. The Basilica di San Marco was the chapel of the Doges, but in 1807, it became the Cathedral of Venice. Exterior is decorated with Byzantine, Romanesque and Gothic art, the west facade is composed of two orders of five recessed arches, supported by clusters of columns whose capitals were carved in the 12th and 13th centuries. The delicate pinnacles and other decorations at the top of the facade are Gothic additions of the 14th and 15th centuries.

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