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030 Italy - Rome - Vatican

Basilica Papale di San Pietro in Vaticano
Papal Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican

There has been a church on this site since the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great. Construction of the present basilica, replacing the Old St. Peter's Basilica of the 4th century AD, began on 18 April 1506 and was completed on 18 November 1626.

Length 730 feet
Width 500 feet
Height 448 feet

The top of the Cistine Chapel is visible to the right of the Basilica (red dot).

Gaius Caligula who had the obelisk bought to Rome in 37 AD. It was the largest non-inscribed obelisk to leave Egypt, at 83.6 feet high and weighing an estimated 359 tons. The obelisk was originally erected in gardens Caligula had inherited from his mother, and then on the central Spina of Caligulaís circus. Much of the circus is under under the basilica and square, the original spot for the obelisk is near the present-day sacristy, south of the basilica.

Because of the solid pedestal on which the obelisk was placed, it remained standing for 1,500 years until it was moved to where it stands today in Saint Peterís Square. It took thirteen months, between 1585 and 1586 to move and re-erect the obelisk.