Europe

Venice carnival: Masked revellers celebrate city's festival

Costumed revellers pose at St Mark"s square during the Venice Carnival on February 8, 2015 in Venice. Image copyright AFP
Image caption The carnival has been held for centuries

Revellers wearing elaborate masks and costumes have taken to the streets of Venice to open the city's centuries-old carnival officially.

The event is a public party leading into the Roman Catholic fasting month of Lent which begins on 18 February.

It opened at noon on Sunday with the Flight of the Angel ceremony, a theatrical tradition which takes place in St Mark's Square.

The celebrated carnival was first held in the 11th Century.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Visitors arrive wearing elaborate masks
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Inside a Venice coffee shop on the carnival's first day
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Revellers pose in St Mark's Square on Sunday
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Visitor's are encouraged to wear imaginative costumes
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Central Venice was packed with people
Image copyright AFP
Image caption The carnival was once a favourite of European royalty

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