Most people visit the central Italian city of Ravenna for its superb Byzantine mosaics A thriving seaport in ancient times rose to power in the 1st century BC under the Emperor Augustus. The town converted to Christianity very early, in the 2nd century AD. As Rome's power declined, Ravenna took over as capital of the Western Empire (402 AD). Ravenna's exquisite early Christian mosaics span the years of Roman, Ostrogothic and Byzantine rule. Today, Ravenna is a very pleasant town much like other Italian cities, with old streets, fine shops and peaceful squares, but the Byzantine domes of its churches still evoke its Eastern heritage. Ravenna's early Christian churches and mosaics are why people visit Ravenna and what makes Ravenna a World Heritage site.