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The Venetian Lagoon (Laguna di Venezia) is a lagoon in a North-West  Adriatic which stretches from the Piave  River in the north to the Brenta River (Po River)in the south, with a surface area of 550 square kilometres. It is around 8% land, including Venice city itself and many smaller islands like Murano , Burano ... about 80% of the lagoon is covered by salt marsh. Venetian  lagoon is subject to high variations of sea tides, which are the most extreme the late winter. The Lagoon was formed about seven thousand years ago with the start of the warm climatic period after the last Ice Age, when the raised sea level flooded the upper Adriatic coastal plain.

The largest settlement of the Venetian Lagoon is Venice which was founded in the 5th century and spreads over 118 small islands seperated by channels and connected with bridges. Venice and its lagoon are listed under the UNESCO World Heritage list. Venice Republic became a major maritime power of the Mediterranean in the 10th century.

»In AD 1000, Venice controlled the Dalmatian coast and in a year 1112 a trading market was founded in the Levantine port of Sidon. The year 1204 saw Venice allied with the Crusaders to capture Constantinople. The abundant booty brought back on that occasion, including the bronzes horses of St Mark's, is only the more spectacular part of the loot from Byzantium that the Doge Enrico Dàndolo shared with his allies.
Under the Doge, a maritime empire of unequalled power extended over the entire length of the shores around the eastern Mediterranean, to the islands of the Ionian Sea and to Crete. During the entire period of the expansion of Venice, over the centuries when it was obliged to defend its trading markets against the commercial undertakings of the Arabs, the Genoese and the Ottoman Turks,as well as those of the European monarchs who were envious of its power, Venice never ceased, in the literal sense of the term, to consolidate its position in the lagoon. The marriage with the sea, thatsposaliziothat since 1172 was symbolized by the ring of the Doge, who had replaced the Dux (elected for the first time in 697 by an assembly of the people), was never called into question.
In this inland sea that has continuously been under threat, rises amid a tiny archipelago at the very edge of the waves one of the most extraordinary built-up areas of the Middle Ages. From Torcello to the north to Chioggia to the south, almost every small island had its own settlement, town, fishing village and artisan village (Murano). However, at the heart of the lagoon, Venice itself stood as one of the greatest capitals in the medieval world. When a group of tiny islands were consolidated and merged into one, nothing remained of the primitive topography but what became canals, such as the Giudecca Canal, St Mark's Canal and the Great Canal, and a network of smallriithat are the veritable arteries of a city on water. In this unreal space, where there is no notion of the concept of terra firma, masterpieces of one of the most extraordinary architectural museums on Earth have been accumulated for over 1,000 years.
« (Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC)

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