St. Peter's Basilica

Facade by Night
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St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City is the world headquarters of Roman Catholicism and one of the largest churches in the world. Founded by Constantine the Great in 324, it stands over the tomb of Saint Peter the Apostle.

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St. Peter's Basilica
Piazza San Pietro
Vatican City
41.902181° N, 12.453346° E
Date Published
October 8, 2013
Last Updated
April 11, 2015


Martyrdom of the Apostle Peter on Vatican Hill

Martyrdom of the Apostle Peter in Rome. According to early Christian tradition, he is crucified upside down in the Circus of Nero on Vatican Hill and buried in the burial ground nearby. Today the site is occupied by St. Peter's Basilica.

Constantine commissions St. Peter's Basilica in Rome

Emperor Constantine commissions the construction of the original St. Peter's Basilica (known as Old St. Peter's) in Rome. The shrine is built over the traditional place of the Apostle Peter's burial on Vatican Hill.

Michelangelo appointed chief architect of St. Peter's Basilica

Michelangelo is appointed chief architect of St. Peter's Basilica. As part of his duties, he designs the great dome, which will only be partially built upon his death.

Completion of the dome of St. Peter's begun by Michelangelo

The dome of St. Peter's Basilica, begun by Michelangelo, is completed by architect Giacomo della Porta with the assistance of engineer Domenico Fontana.

Reconstruction of St. Peter's Basilica begins under Pope Julius II

Construction on the new St. Peter's Basilica in Rome begins under Pope Julius II, funded in large part by the sale of indulgences. Donato Bramante is the first chief architect.

Completion of St. Peter's Basilica

St. Peter's Basilica is completed under Pope Paul V.

December 25, 800
Charlemagne is crowned Roman Emperor at St. Peter's Basilica

Charlemagne is crowned "Emperor of the Romans" by Pope Leo III in St. Peter's Basilica, Rome.

July 15, 2006