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DOMES OF SAN MARCO Photographed: July 3,2007

There had been an earlier basilica at the site presently occupied by Basilica of San Marco, but it was destroyed in a fire in AD 976 when a popular revolt took place against the ruler, Doge, Pietro Candiano IV. Candiano’s successor, Dominico Contanini, authorized the building of the present basilica. Contanini, however, died in AD 1070, just a year before the completion of the edifice. In the early years of the church, the remains of the Apostle, Saint Mark, were smuggled out of Egypt and brought to the Basilica of San Marco, rendering it the second most important reliquary after the Basilica of San Pietro in Rome.

The floor plan of San Marco is that of a Greek Cross, with four equal arms, with the building crowned with five hemispherical domes. In the millennium since its construction untold riches were brought in, and new commissions for artwork offered. In 1204 Constantinople (modern Istanbul) fell to the friendly forces of the Fourth Crusade. This army had set out to retake the Holy Lands from the Muslims but got sidetracked, settling in Constantinople instead. The sack of the city led to the seizure of priceless classical treasures, including the four gilded horses now at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice.

The basilica’s famous 98-meter bell tower, the Campanile, which stands separately from the church itself, was originally begun under the Doge Pietro Tribuno in the 10th century, and modified to resemble its present appearance in16th century. In the early 17th century Galileo Galilei, constructed a telescope (using the design of the Dutch inventor of the telescope, Han Lippershey) and took his apparatus to the top of the tower. From there he could spot merchant ships approaching Venice long before people could see them with the naked eye. He earned money in this enterprise, and used it to fund his research in physics.

But in 1902 the original tower collapsed, the only known casualties — a few hapless cats. By 1912, however, the tower had been rebuilt on the original site. Shortly before noon on July 3, 2007 I rode an elevator to the observation level of the tower and took photos from top, among them the photo of the domes of San Marco. The photo is a bit reminiscent of the photo, Kubbeler by Ahmet Sahin (temha).

This image will be placed in a new group theme, DOMES. I Welcome others to contribute.

Nikon D-70, UV-haze filter, tripod.

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Additional Photos by Bulent Atalay (batalay) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6020 W: 457 N: 10453] (35051)
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