Pictures & photos of the Basilica of Saint Mark Venice, Italy. Saint Mark's Basilica stands at the end of the Piazza San Marco next to the Doges Palace in Venice. The opulence of its design and ornamentation stands as a testament to the ambitions and wealth of Venetian Republic. The lower facade of Saint Mark's Basilica is made up of medieval relief sculptures and columns looted from Constantinople by Doge Enrico Dandolo, who persuaded the 4th Crusade to take the city in 1204. On a balcony above the lower floor stand the four great bronze horses that were also looted from Constantinople. The upper facade is an intricate Venetian Gothic design with Byzantine style mosaics of Jesus Christ as well as the stealing of the precious Relics of Saint Mark which were brought from Alexandria in the pretext of saving them from the Muslim Arabs. The whole of the 8000 square meter interior of the Basilica is decorated with gold Byzantine ( eastern Roman ) style mosaics dating from the 11th century. In the apse above the main altar is a mosaic of Christ Patocrator an Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic theological conception showing the strong links that Venice enjoyed with the Eastern Roman Byzantine Empire in Constantinople.
On the south west corner of Saint Mark's Basilica are the statues of the Tetrachs, also taken from Constantinople. The statues show the Eastern Roman Emperor Diolcetian embracing his Co Emperor of the West Maximian. Behind , also embracing, are the two Caesars who replaced the Emperors when Diocletian and Maximian took early retirement. The idea was supposed to eradicate the civil strife between waring rival candidates to become Emperor every time an old Emperor died. The plan did not work and after a long conflict Constantine became sole Emperor and moved the capital of the Roman Empire to Constantinople which 900 years later fell to the Venetians in 1204.
Saint Mark's Basilica is a testament to medieval politics. Its interior shows the strong trading links reliance upon Byzantium. The looted Byzantine art on the facade of St Marks show the power that the Venetian Republic reached to take and sack Constantinople, which led to the ultimate fall of the Byzantine Roman Empire in 1453 to the Turks. Saint Mark's Basilica is a beautiful mix of western and eastern art and influences that come together to form a unique Christian building.