St Mark's Basillica

St. Mark's Church is the dominant building on the square in Venice. It is one of the most beautiful and interesting churches in the world, drawing your attention with its unique construction. Due to its rich design, gilded Byzantine mosaics, and its status as a symbol of Venetian wealth and power, from XI century it’s called the Church of gold. It was built on the model of the Basilica of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople, which has not been preserved. Through this you can see clear fascination of Venice with the architecture of the East.

About St Mark's Basillica

St. Mark's Church was built in the ninth century as a shrine for the remains of St. Mark, whose relics, according to the legend, Venetian merchants smuggled from Alexandria in Egypt - in barrels with salted pork. This event is shown in one of the mosaics at the entrance to the church. The first church was burned down in the great fire, and the other one did not last long because the Doge thought of it to be too modest in relation to other churches in the city. Today's appearance it got in the 1063 year. The original church of St. Mark was unadorned, without frescoes and sculptures.

St. Mark's Church was created with merging of different styles. It has a basis of a Greek cross inscribed in a square. Each arm of the cross is emphasized by its special dome. The domes are lined with wooden Savoy roofs with copper sheeting and a gaudy lanterns on top so even from afar it would look even more striking.

At the front of the church there are five portals with reinforced arches. The central portal is decorated with Romanesque reliefs featuring zodiac signs, months and crafts. Five arcades that are above them are decorated with spikes on the top, spiral decoration featuring leaves and statues from the late Gothic style.

The domes, vaults and walls of the church are covered with mosaics of glass plate shining in shades of gold and various colors and are made in a variety of styles, predominantly inspired by Byzantine style. Byzantine mosaics are covering almost the entire ceiling, but a large part of the church floor as well. The marble floor is filled with geometric patterns and animal designs.

The greatest treasure of the church is Pala d'oro, placed above the main altar. It is a crypt where it was supposedly buried St. Mark. It is decorated with sapphires, emeralds and rubies from Constantinople. Originally, it stood behind the altar but it’s kept in a museum within the church now. Pal is dominated by depictions of the life of Jesus Christ.

On the main entrance to the church there are four gilded horses made of copper from the period of Alexander the Great. They were brought from Constantinople and placed at the front of the church around 1254. The present horses on the facade are bronze copies, and the originals are on display at the museum inside the church.

St. Mark's Church is a symbol of Venice. Even today it attracts the attention of tourists and visitors from around the world with its look, colors, unusual light-dark effects, as well as artistic masterpieces it has.

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Photos of St. Mark's Basillica