St Mark’s Basilica (Italian: Basilica di San Marco a Venezia), the cathedral church of Venice, Italy. Is the most famous of the city’s churches and one of the best known examples of Byzantine architecture. It lies on Piazza San Marco adjacent and connected to the Doge’s Palace.
Originally it was the “chapel” of the Venetian rulers, and not the city’s cathedral. Since 1807 it has been the seat of the Patriarch of Venice, archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice. For its opulent design, gilded Byzantine mosaics, and its status as a symbol of Venetian wealth and power, from the 11th century on the building was known by the nickname; Chiesa d’Oro (Church of Gold).
St Mark’s Campanile (Campanile di San Marco in Italian) is the Bell Tower of St Mark’s Basilica, one of the most recognizable symbols of the city.
The tower is 98.6 metres (323 ft) tall, and stands alone in a corner of St Mark’s Square, near the front of the Basilica. It has a simple form, the bulk of which is a plain brick square shaft, 12 metres (39 ft) wide on each side and 50 metres (160 ft) tall, above which is the arched belfry, housing five bells. The belfry is topped by a cube, alternate faces of which show walking lions and the female representation of Venice (la Giustizia: Justice). The tower is capped by a pyramidal spire, at the top of which sits a golden weathervane in the form of the archangel Gabriel. The campanile reached its present form in 1514. As it stands today, however, the tower is a reconstruction, completed in 1912 after the collapse of 1902.
The initial 9th-century construction, initiated during the reign of Pietro Tribuno and built on Roman foundations, was used as a watch tower. Construction was finished in the twelfth century, during the reign of Domenico Morosini.
The whole of Venice and its Lagoon is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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Single RAW image Tonemapped in Photomatix Pro.
Camera: Canon EOS 450D (Digital Rebel XSi in the USA)
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