Saint Peter's Complex

By the Editors of the Madain Project

The Saint Peter's Complex in Vatican City, Rome, is a complex of religious buildings that includes Basilica of Saint Peter, Saint Peter's Square, Vatican Palace, and the Museums.

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Designed principally by Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, St. Peter's is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture and the largest church in the world. While it is neither the mother church of the Catholic Church nor the cathedral of the Diocese of Rome (these equivalent titles being held by the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran in Rome).



Saint Peter's Basilica
The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter, also known as St. Peter's Basilica, is one of the largest and most famous churches in the world, and is located in Vatican City, Rome, Italy. It is considered one of the holiest Catholic shrines and is the final resting place of Saint Peter, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus.

The first St. Peter's Basilica was built in the fourth century CE by the Roman Emperor Constantine on the site where Saint Peter was believed to have been buried. This basilica was later destroyed and rebuilt several times over the centuries, with the current structure being completed in the early seventeenth century CE. The design of the current Saint Peter's Basilica was largely influenced by the Renaissance and the Baroque movements, and the church was built under the direction of several famous architects and artists, including Bramante, Michelangelo, Bernini, and Maderno. The basilica features a massive dome, which was designed by Michelangelo and is considered one of the greatest architectural achievements of the Renaissance.

The interior of the basilica holds an extensive array of stunning works of art, including sculptures, paintings, and mosaics by some of the greatest artists of all time, such as Bernini, Raphael, and Caravaggio. The basilica also houses several important relics, including the bronze baldachin over the high altar and the statue of Saint Peter Enthroned, which is considered one of the greatest masterpieces of medieval art.


Saint Peter's Square
The Saint Peter's Square is a large plaza located in front of St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Rome, Italy. An iconic example of Baroque architecture, it is considered one of the most famous squares in the world and is often used for religious ceremonies and events. The square was designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and was completed in 1667 CE.

It is famous for its elliptical shape and the two colonnades, which provide a beautiful backdrop for the basilica. The colonnades consist of 284 columns, each of which is a different size and shape, and they create a visual effect of unity, stability, and movement. The two arms of the colonnades are each composed of four rows of Doric columns, and their tops are adorned with 140 statues of saints.

In the center of the square stands an ancient Egyptian obelisk, which was brought to Rome by Emperor Caligula in 37 CE and was re-erected by Bernini in the square in 1633 CE. The obelisk, which is 25.5 meters tall, serves as the focal point for the entire square.


Sistine Chapel
The Sistine Chapel is a famous chapel located in Vatican City. It is considered one of the greatest artistic masterpieces of the Renaissance and is famous for its ceiling, which was painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512 CE. The chapel was originally built in the fifteenth century as a private papal chapel and was later transformed into a public chapel for the election of popes.

The architecture of the Sistine Chapel is a unique blend of medieval and Renaissance styles. The interior of the chapel features ribbed vaults and delicate arches, while the walls are adorned with beautiful frescoes and sculptures by some of the greatest artists of the Renaissance, including Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, and Perugino.

The highlight of the Sistine Chapel is its ceiling, which is considered one of Michelangelo's greatest masterpieces. The ceiling features a series of frescoes that depict scenes from the Book of Genesis, including the Creation of Adam and the Fall of Man. The frescoes are considered some of the most important works of art in the world and are renowned for their dramatic composition, vivid colors, and stunning use of perspective. The Sistine Chapel also features a series of stunning tapestries, which were designed by Raphael and his workshop in the early sixteenth century CE. The tapestries depict scenes from the lives of Saint Peter and Saint Paul and are considered some of the greatest works of art from the Renaissance.


Apostolic Palace
The Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the Pope in Vatican City, is a large and complex building that encompasses a number of important offices and apartments, as well as several stunning chapels and museums. The Apostolic Palace has a long and rich history, dating back to the early days of the Catholic Church. Over the centuries, the palace has been expanded and renovated several times, and today it encompasses over 1,000 rooms, spread across several wings and courtyards.


Vatican Museums
The Vatican Museums are a complex of museums and galleries located in Vatican City. The museums are home to one of the largest and most diverse collections of art and antiquities in the world, and include some of the most famous masterpieces of Western art and history. The museums were established in the sixteenth century CE by Pope Julius II, and have grown over the centuries to encompass over 54 galleries, covering an area of over 70,000 square meters.

The Vatican Museums are renowned for their vast collection of classical sculptures, including the Laocoön and His Sons, the Apollo Belvedere, and the Belvedere Torso. The museums also house an impressive collection of Renaissance masterpieces, including works by Michelangelo, Raphael, and Bernini. In addition to the art and antiquities, the Vatican Museums are also famous for their beautiful architecture and decoration. The museums feature several stunning chapels and galleries, including the Sistine Chapel, the Raphael Rooms, and the Borgia Apartments, all of which are decorated with beautiful frescoes, paintings, and sculptures.

circa 950 BCE

Vatican Obelisk
Today known as the Vatican Obelisk, it is an uninscribed ancient Egyptian obelisk carved out of red granite. It stands in the middle of the Saint Peter's Square, originally erected in the Temple of the Sun in Heliopolis, Egypt, more than 3,500 years ago. Brought to Rome by Augustus in 10 BCE with the Solare obelisk and erected on the spina of the Circus Maximus. It was later moved to the Circus of Nero in Rome, where it was used as a decoration for chariot races.

In the late sixteenth century CE, Pope Sixtus V commissioned Domenico Fontana to move the obelisk to its current location in Saint Peter's Square, when it was found with the Lateranense obelisk. This was a massive engineering feat and required the use of over 900 men and 100 horses to transport the obelisk from its original location to Vatican City. At the time of its re-discovery circa 1586 CE it was found in two pieces. The obelisk was re-erected in 1586 CE and has stood in its current location ever since.

The Sculptures with lion fountains were added to the base in 1818.

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