Basilica of Saint Peter in Vatican

Basilica of Saint Peter in Vatican

Basilica of St. Peter is one of the most important and also the oldest Christian buildings in the world. St. Peter´s Basilica is also the traditional burial place of the Popes.

The original basilica was built by Emperor Constantine I. the Great on the place where St. Peter was allegedly tortured and buried. Around the apostle's tomb was prayer room already in the middle of the 2nd century and the grave was the goal of many pilgrims. At that time, the tomb of the Apostle Peter was outside of the Rome´s city walls. The newly-built Basilica of St. Peter was consecrated in 329 by Pope Sylvester I.

Around the year 500, when Pope Symmachus transferred the residence of the Pope to the Vatican, other residential buildings began to grow up around the basilica. An important event came on 25th December of the year 800. Pope Leo III crowned Frankish king Charlemagne as Emperor during the Christmas Mass in the Basilica of St. Peter. The future emperors, after arrival at their coronation in the church, knelt on the big dark red stone round shape. The stone is still located in the floor near the entrance.

Reconstruction of the basilica in its present form began under the pontificate of Julius II. and ran from 1505 to 1629. The construction work began stagnate after the death of Pope Julius, in 1513, also due to lack of finances. Change came with Pope Paul III. In 1547 Pope delegated 72 years old Michelangelo to continue the construction work on the basilica. According to Michelangelo proposal the St. Peter´s Basilica should have only one majestic dome. In 1602 Carlo Maderno was commissioned to final completion of the basilica. New Basilica of St. Peter was consecrated on November the 18th 1629 by Pope Urban VIII.

The last man who joined to the buinding of the Basilica of St. Peter after the death of Maderno was Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Bernini completed the interior of the church including the monumental canopy over the St. Peter´s grave. He modified access to the basilica and emphasized the monumentality of the Basilica frontage. Bernini completed a colonnade of Tuscan columns in 1666 and designed the final appearance also of impressive St. Peter´s Square in 1675.

Dimensions of the St. Peter´s Basilica are monumental: the length of the apse : 211.5 m, height of the dome: 136.57 m. The Basilica fits unbelievable 60,000 people.

25.3.2010 | Prague guide | Cities |
Basilica of Saint Peter in Vatican
Basilica of Saint Peter in Vatican
Basilica of Saint Peter in Vatican
Basilica of Saint Peter in Vatican
Basilica of Saint Peter in Vatican
Basilica of Saint Peter in Vatican
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