In 976 a fire nearly destroyed the St. Mark's
Basilica resulting in a closure that lasted more than a century. Many of
the priceless pictures and religious artifacts that were housed in the
church were lost forever. Reopened in 1094, the church
was re-styled in the eclectic gothic and arabesque style that was
employed during the 11th century - the Byzantine influence on the
architecture is unmistakable. The Byzantine influence can be
readily observed in
the characteristics of the 5 domes over the roman cross, and in the
styling of the columns and arches of the facade.
The basilica boasts more than 40,000 square feet
of intricate mosaic tile work on the interior. Inside can be found the Capella
Zen, the Capella della Madonna di Nicopeia, and the Capella
della Madonna Mascoli. These chapels, each located off the
main nave, each with a unique history, hold spectacular visual feasts.
Through the colorful history of Venice St. Mark's Basilica served as the private chapel of the
Doge (ruler of the City State) until 1807 when it became the official duomo
(cathedral) of the city.
For more information about the history of
St. Marks basilica, check out the sources below.