The Basilica di San Marco is the most famous church from Venice and one of the best examples of Byzantine architecture. It is located in Piazza San Marco. Originally the church was a chapel for the Venetian rulers. Since 1807, it has been the sanctuary of the Patriarch of Venice. Thanks to its opulent form, decorated with Byzantine mosaics, and due to its status as a symbol of Venetian wealth and power, has been also called The Golden Church (Chiesa d'Oro).
Outside, the church is divided into five arches separated by columns decorated with polychrome marble. Above the central door there is a mosaic with gold (from the nineteenth century) representing the Last Judgement. At the top of the church there are four statues of warrior saints and of San Marco who watche over the city. Above the central window of the facade, under the statue of St. Mark, there is the winged lion (symbol of the church), while on the middle of the balcony there are Roman horses.
The interior of the church is based on a Greek cross, each arm separated in three parts. The construction of the building was inspired from the Justinian Church of the Apostles in Constantinople. The surface covered with mosaic is a 8000 m2 area. The upper surface of the interior is covered with brilliant mosaics which contains gold, bronze and a variety of stones.
By Maria Morari
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