St. Peter's square
St. Peter's square is located directly in front of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City. The St. Peter's square was designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and was constructed from 1656 to 1667 under the direction of Pope Alexander VII. The Pope wanted a structure that could enable many people to see the Pope when giving his blessings. Gian Lorenzo Bernini came up with an elliptical shaped square, measuring 196 meters long and 240 meters wide.  St. Peter's square has semi-circular colonnades on either side, which are said to symbolize the church’s stretched arms embracing the world. These colonnades were constructed in 1660 and they contain four rows of columns. The columns have a height of 20 m and a width of 1.6 m. There were also 140 statues on top of the colonnades which depicted popes, evangelists, martyrs and other religious figures. The square has a capacity to accommodate approximately 400000 people during special occasions like Easter celebrations or during the election of a new Pope.

St. Peter's SquareSt. Peter's Square
Saint Peter's Square & Basilica St. Peter's Square SunsetSaint Peter's Square and Obelisk

At the center of the St. Peter's square stands an Egyptian obelisk. It is made of  red granite and it is 25.5 m tall.  The Obelisk is supported by statues of bronze lions. The Vatican obelisk was originally erected at Heliopolis between 2494 BC and 2345 BC by an unknown pharaoh of the Fifth dynasty of Egypt. By 2010, the Vatican obelisk had been moved three times. It is only the Vatican obelisk in Rome that has not been toppled since ancient Roman times. The designer of the St. Peter's square did not influence in any manner the erection of the Vatican obelisk but he used it as the centerpiece of his outstanding piazza.

The Vatican's square or St. Peter's square is the place where various occasions with great importance to the Catholic Church take place. The St. Peter's square was actually established to serve this purpose. With its ability to accommodate thousands of people, this is the place where Catholics gather to hold their important masses during different events of their calendar annually. For instance, here is where the newly elected Pope Francis I appeared to the public for the first time. Access to the Vatican square has also been made easier and security at and near the St. Peter's square is always tight.  For you to have a clear view of the St. Peter's square, you will have to climb to the top of the dome of the Basilica. Here you will see the outstanding views of the Vatican square including the Vatican obelisk. On the right side of the Vatican obelisk is a fountain which was designed by Carlo Moderno in 1613. Bernini also decided to install another similar fountain on the left side of the Vatican obelisk for the purpose of symmetry. This second fountain was designed by Carlo Fontana in 1677.