Emperor Constantine, the first Christian emperor of Rome, ordered to build a basilica on Vatican Hill. The locationwas symbolic: this was the place where Saint Peter, the chief apostle, was buried in 64 A.D. A small shrine already existed on the site but it was now replaced by a new building church was completed around 349 A.D.In the middle of the 15th century, the basilica was falling into ruin and pope Nicolas V ordered the restoration and enlargement of the church after plans by Bernardo Rossellino. After Nicolas V died, works were halted. In 1506 pope Julius II laid the first stone of a new basilica which was to become the largest in the world.
Julius II appointed Donato Bramante as the chief architect of the new Basilica. In 1547 Michelangelo succeeded Bramante. He designed the imposing dome and altered some of the original plans.
Michelangelo died in 1624, two years before the St. Peter’s basilica was dedicated by pope Urban VIII. Ever since, this church has been the center of Christianity, drawing pilgrims from all over the world.
The building itself is truly impressive. The largest church in the world, it has a 218 meter long nave. The basilica’s dome is the world’s largest measuring 42m in diameter and reaching 138 meter high (more than 450ft). The interior, which includes 45 altars, is decorated by
many famous artists. Some of the most important works in the church are the Pietà by Michelangelo, the papal altar by Bernini, the Throne of St. Peter – also by Bernini – and the Monument to the Stuarts by Canova.
Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Featured in the group “Religious Architecture”