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View looking east towards the Basilica San Marco's main entrance from the Piazza (Saint Mark's Square). The West elevation of the building is showing. The floor plan at left is oriented with the photo (west being at the bottom)

The center dome is 42 feet in diameter and rises over the center of the nave. Smaller domes rise over each arm. The Basilica, as a whole, is built as a Greek cross (250 feet long by 220 feet wide). A  Gothic addition was later added which wraps the West entrance.

(Floorplan link to Interior Photo's)


West Elevation closer view

West Entrance Main Door

Extrior Mosaic Over West Elevation

View looking East towards the Piazza from "Amoung the Four Horses" atop the Gothic addition to the Basilica just above the vast mosaic over the west door

South Elevation looking North from the Palazzo Ducale Courtyard

Side Wall Basilica (elevation unkown -- possibly south elevation of Gothic addition)

Side Elevation (possibly North elevation of Gothic addition)


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Basilica San Marco

Saint Mark's was formally the private chapel of the doge (ruler) of Venice. It actually didn't become a Cathedral (or Basilica) until 1807, ten years after the fall of the Republic, until then, the Bishop of Venice recided from San Pietro di Castello, on the eastern outskirts of the city.

In the days of the republic, worshipers in the church were very much aware that this was the Doges' church and not the Popes'. Richly ornamented as a showcase for the city-state a law was passed that every merchant traveling to the Orient had to carry something back for the church which created a staggering collection of art objects.

The church is named after the patron Saint Mark -- the evangelist -- his bones are entombed at the church.

The original church had been Romanesque and built in the  9th century as a shrine for Saint Mark, but it was destroyed in a fire 967. Byzantine architects then reconstruction the church with the main core being completed c.1071. In the 12th and following centuries through alterations and elaborate adornments it became a splendid Byzantine monument.  In the 14th cent. the facade received Gothic additions. The present structure gives us this mixture between Byzantine and Gothic. 

"a vast and warty bug taking a meditative walk" -- Mark Twain describing the look of the Basilica.
To interior


Copyright 1998-2003
Natasha Wallace all rights reserved
Created 10/16/2000
Updated 03/30/2004

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