When Was St Peters Basilica Built


St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the most renowned religious sites in all of Christianity, and is located in the Vatican City of Rome. It is considered to be the largest church in the world and is widely known for its incredible beauty and architectural complexity. What is lesser known, however, is when the Basilica was actually built, and the journey it has been through to become the structure that stands before us today.

Early History

The original construction of St. Peter’s Basilica is believed to have begun around 320AD by Emperor Constantine, making it the oldest church built in Rome. Although some excavations and renovations have occurred, the original four main aisles have remained since its initial construction. Many of the artifacts and remains found there date back even further, to the times of Nero, who was the fifth and final Roman Emperor.

It wasn’t until much later that Pope Nicholas V realized that the current structure of St. Peter’s Basilica was too small to accommodate the huge influx of tourist visitors, so he commissioned an extensive remodeling and expansion. As the project commenced, cranes and the new technique of constructing “flying buttresses” were employed to lift the huge marble stones used in the Basilica’s construction, allowing higher levels of the building to be constructed.

The Renaissance

It was during the Renaissance that St. Peter’s Basilica was extended even further. During 1519, Pope Leo X was reputed to have issued a document outlining a five-year plan for the Basilica’s renovation, which included a new largest dome, towers, and many other elements we still see today.

The following two centuries brought many more changes and developments to the Basilica. In the seventeenth century, a new façade was constructed, and some additional rebuilding was carried out in the eighteenth century by Benedict XIV. It was during this period that the façade as we now recognize it today, was completed.

Modern History

Most recently, the twentieth century saw a few more minor enhancements being made to St. Peter’s Basilica, including a refurbishment and expansion of the nave in the late 1990s. However, the original design of the Basilica has stayed the same since its construction in the fourth century.

Today, St. Peter’s Basilica remains one of the most iconic places of worship and pilgrimage in the world, having stood as a reminder of the power of faith for centuries. It hosts millions of visitors from around the world every year, and its history and beauty continue to inspire awe and admiration.

Influence and Significance

St. Peter’s Basilica has had an incredible influence on architecture around the world, as its combination of classical and Renaissance styles provide an example for other structures to aspire to.

The Basilica also has a deep and significant religious significance, as it is built upon the burial site of St. Peter. This means that it continues to be a powerful symbol of the Catholic faith, which has been reinforced by the many religious ceremonies and pilgrimages that have been performed there since its construction.

Architectural Design

Although it may seem that the Basilica is built in solide and ancient state, its architectural design is actually quite complex. Among the many elements of the Basilica that stand out include its grand, sweeping nave and aisles, its large dome, the ornate altars, the detailed sculptures, and a wealth of other artwork within the church.

The Basilica’s combination of architectural designs has also been widely praised for its aesthetic beauty and simplicity, making it a popular tourist attraction that continues to draw large crowds every year.

Controversies and Challenges

Despite the beauty of St. Peter’s Basilica, it is not without controversy. Over the years, the Basilica and its architecture have often been subject to criticism from those who believe that its grandeur and magnificence is unneccesary. Additionally, the construction of the dome and flying buttresses have been the source of much debate, as some believe these structures are an eyesore and an affront to the religious nature of the Church.

The Basilica has also faced financial challenges, as it requires a careful balance of revenue to cover its many expenses. In recent years, the Vatican has been undertaking various refurbishment projects in order to maintain the Basilica and ensure its continued operation.


St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the most significant religious sites in the world, and its construction dates back to the fourth century. Its sweeping nave and aisles, ornate altars, sculptures, and other artwork serve as testaments to the grandeur and magnificence of the religious structure, while its combination of classical and Renaissance styles is admired by architects around the world. While the Basilica has faced many challenges and controversies, its religious and historic significance and its fiscal stability remain strong.

Herman Shaw is a passionate traveler and avid photographer who has seen many of the world's most awe-inspiring monuments. He has developed expertise in various aspects of world architecture and culture which he enjoys sharing with his readers. With deep historical knowledge and insight, Herman's writing brings life to these remarkable artifacts and highlights their importance in the grand scheme of human history.

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