St Peter's Basilica Facts

St Peter's Basilica Facts
St. Peter's Basilica is one of the largest churches in the world, built on the burial site of St. Peter, one of Christ's apostles, on Vatican Hill in Vatican City. The first St. Peter's Basilica was built in the fourth century by Emperor Constantine, but by the 1400s it was almost in ruins. Nicolas V, the Pope, began restoration by Bernardo Rossellino's plans, but when the pope died the project halted. It wasn't until Pope Julius II hired architect Donato Bramante, half a century later, to redesign the church that the project began again. Bramante died and later Michelangelo Buonarroti took over, and when Michelangelo died in 1564 only the dome's drum had been built. It was 1626 before the church was reconsecrated, 1300 years after the first church had been consecrated.
Interesting St Peter's Basilica Facts:
In Italian St. Peter's Basilica is San Pietro in Vaticano.
St. Peter's Basilica is considered to be the largest Basilica of Christianity, at 448.1 feet tall, 730 feet long, and 500 feet wide. It covers approximately 240,000 square feet.
St. Peter's Basilica has a capacity of 60,000 people.
Architects known to have worked on the design of St. Peter's Basilica include Donato Bramante, Raphael, Antonio da Sangallo the Younger, Michelangelo, Jacopo Barozzi da Vignola, Giacomo della Porta, Carlo Maderno, and Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
St. Peter's Basilica is the world's most renowned example of Renaissance architecture.
Michelangelo, the architect responsible for designing the main dome of the Basilica, was also a sculptor and a painter, who became one the greatest artists of his time.
St. Peter's Basilica is one of the two largest churches in the world. It is also considered to be one of the holiest Catholic shrines and "greatest of all churches of Christendom".
St. Peter's Basilica is home to more than 100 tombs, including the tombs of 91 popes, Holy Roman Emperor Otto II, and Queen Christina, the Swedish woman who gave up the throne to convert to Catholicism.
Michelangelo's statue Pieta is located in a bulletproof glass case at St. Peter's Basilica. It is the only work he ever signed.
In the square outside St. Peter's Basilica are 140 statues of saints. They were carved from 1662 to 1703 by a variety of artists.
The 96-foot tall baldacchino (canopy over the altar) was completed in 1633, but because the bronze used in its construction likely came from the Pantheon, many Italian were critical of the structure.
There are 491 stairs to the top of Michelangelo's dome of St. Peter's Basilica.
Some of the fundraising methods used to build St. Peter's Basilica led to a rise in Protestantism. One of the fundraising methods was selling 'indulgences', in essence exchanging money for absolving one of their guilt and punishment for their sins.
The largest collection of ancient art is housed in St. Peter's Basilica and its buildings.
Some believe that bones founds in Saint Peter's tomb belonged to Saint Peter, while others believe that his remains were those found in a chest in a cave in Mount Olives, Jerusalem.

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