Thursday, October 20, 2011
"One of the most famous features of the church is the Triumphal Guadriga, or Horses of St. Mark. You can see them above the central door and largest arch in the picture above, 4 huge bronze horses. (Today, the ones you see are copies, and the real ones are protected inside the church.) They were brought here from Constantinople in 1204 after Venetian soldiers in the 4th crusade sacked the city. They are old, and were part of a huge Roman complex there since ancient times. Debate rages on if they were made in ancient Greece or as a Roman copy, but either way, they are some of the only ancient bronze statues to survive to today. Napoleon liked them so much that he took them to Paris in 1797, but they were returned years later."