The city of Ravenna offers an incredible opportunity to see grand mosaics of a style otherwise found only in Istanbul. The city had an enormous strategic importance in the first millennium of the common era. It was the capital of the Western Roman empire in the 400s, the capital of the Ostrogothic Kingdom in the 500s, and later, after it was recaptured by Byzantine Emperor Justinius, was the main Western seat of the Eastern Orthodox empire. This remarkable history is preserved in the striking mosaics.